Main panel: woman on right

Main panel: woman on near left, lower half

Main panel: basket held by woman on near left

Main panel: two women on left

Main panel: woman on far left, lower half

Main panel: woman on far left

Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: Three mourning women
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Painter of the Berlin Hydria
Context: From Vari
Date: ca. 460 BC - ca. 450 BC

H. 0.399 m.; Diam. 0.306 m.

Primary Citation: ARV2, 617, 13.
Shape: Hydria-kalpis
Beazley Number: 207134
Region: Attica
Period: Early Classical


Broken and repaired, with discolored in-painting of cracks and some restoration.

Decoration Description:

Three female mourners wearing chitons and himations are standing around a kalpis hydria, which sits on the ground. The woman at left stands frontally, her head turned to the right. She is pulling her hair with her right hand and touching (or beating) her breast with her left. The woman at right, whose himation hangs open in front, pulls her hair with her left hand and extends right hand in an emphatic gesture. The woman in the center stands in profile to the right, carrying a broad, shallow basket filled with small lekythoi, two wreaths in added white, and at least one fillet in added red. The short, unadorned hair of the women might indicate that they are slaves, but because they have been pulling their hair, the artist may have been trying to portray the dishevelment of grief. Robinson and Pottier believed the scene might depict Electra, her sister Chrysothemis, and a servant, but there is nothing to indicate a mythological rather than generic meaning; see CVA, Robinson 2, 27-28. The hydria, which has a wreath or branch in added red in its mouth, may be an ash urn, or, like the offerings in the basket, is but another item to be taken to the tomb (see discussion below).

The ground line is a band of dotted egg-pattern; a similar pattern circles the rim. Bands of black tongues circle the roots of all three handles. Above the figures, at the base of the neck, is a band of enclosed palmettes alternating with lotuses.

Shape Description:

Kalpis hydria (cf. 1960.340, above) with cyma foot.

Collection History:

Said to have been found in a grave at Vari with two other hydriae: Harvard 1960.340, by the Painter of the Yale Oinochoe (ARV2, 503, 22), and Univ. Mississippi, no number, in the manner of the Niobid Painter (ARV2, 611, 35).

Sources Used:

CVA, Robinson 2.

Other Bibliography:

Robinson exhibition catalogue 1961, no. 100; CVA, Robinson 2, 27-28, pl. 35.