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Main panel: mother, maid and baby

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Three-dimensional approximation of the vase

Collection: London, British Museum
Summary: Mother, maid, and baby.
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Painter of Munich 2528
Date: ca. 450 BC - ca. 425 BC

H 0.175m

Primary Citation: ARV2, 1258, 3
Shape: Hydria
Beazley Number: 217063
Period: Classical

Decoration Description:

On the right an Athenian matron sits on a high-backed chair facing left with her wool basket in front of her. She wears a radiated stephane on her head and a sleeved chiton and himation or mantle. She extends both arms towards an infant and holds a fruit in her right hand to entice him. From the left a young woman approaches with the baby. She wears a long chiton with an apoptygma (overfold) girt and a radiated stephane on her head. As she rushes in her chiton billows out behind her. The baby, who has been facing his maid, now twists and turns to face his mother with both his arms reaching out for her.

What is presented is an idealized scene of the stereotypical revered Athenian housewife. Presumably indoors and obviously industrious (witness her wool basket), she has just dropped everything to attend to her child. The gender of the baby is specified by his male genitalia. By being not only a mother, but also the mother of a son, she has produced a male heir to the father/husband's line and thus ensured the survival of his oikos. Her ample breast also ensures that she is more than able to nurture the young heir.

The design extends over the shoulder. Around the outer curve of the lip, around the neck and below the figured design run bands of egg patterns. Around the outer curve of the foot is a reserved band. Added red is used on the fruit and stephane.

Shape Description:


Collection History:

Castellani, 1873

Sources Used:

Smith 1896, 172,; CVA, 6, 6, pl. 90, 2; Beard 1991, 24