Overview: decoration beneath handle

Overview: Hermes and infant Arkas

Overview: hunter left of Kallisto

Collection: Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Summary: Transformation of Kallisto
Ware: Apulian Red Figure
Painter: Close to the Black Fury Painter
Date: ca. 370 BC - ca. 350 BC

H. with handle 16.8 cm., d. of mouth 8.4 cm., d. of body 12.8 cm., d. of foot 8.6 cm.

Shape: Chous
Period: Late Classical

Date Description:

The style is early "Ornate" Apulian.


Black glaze on the interior has flaked off in places and worn away in others, so that the red wash beneath is visible. There is incrustation under the handles and on the underside of the foot.

Decoration Description:

Around the neck extends a band of enclosed, upright palmettes between two reserved lines, all discontinued under the handle. Below the handle are superposed palmettes emerging from an acanthus-leaf base and palmette fans enclosed by side scrolls. Added white is used for some leaves on saplings in the palmette design, as well as for terminals on the scrolls. Beneath the picture zone, a meander pattern is interrupted by squares with different saltire types and a star pattern. The underside of the foot is reserved.

On the body, the transformation of Kallisto is pictured. Kallisto, with star-spangled drapery covering her legs is seated on a skin-covered rock to the right, with two trees and smaller saplings growing behind her. Kallisto is wearing hunting boots, and her right leg is bent beneath her. Her right hand is resting on the rock, with two spears placed next to it. Both her hands are in the process of changing into paws, and fur appears on her face and arms. To the right Hermes is lifting up the naked infant Arcas. Hermes is wearing a chlamys and petasos, and his caduceus leans against a stele behind him. Behind Kallisto, a young hunter is striding to the left, while looking at her. He is naked except for a chlamys over his shoulders and wrapped around his arms, and a pilos on his head. He is carrying a spear.

This depiction refers to the myth of the nymph Kallisto, a friend of Artemis and beloved by Zeus. In one version of the story, she bore him the infant Arcas, the father of the Arcadians. In a different version, a jealous Hera changed her into a bear, while in a third version, Zeus changed her into a bear to protect her from Hera's jealous ire. Later accidentally killed by Artemis, she was placed by Zeus among the constellations.

Shape Description:

The handle is low and ridged, the body bulbous with a trefoil mouth, and the base echinoid.

Sources Used:

CVA, USA 26, Malibu 3, p. 32, pl. 169

Other Bibliography:

See CVA for extensive bibliography.