previous next

101. 28.48 CUP PLATE LIII

Diameter 0.238, height 0.098. Mazochius In Regii Herculanensis Musaei aeneas tabulas Heracleenses commentarii p. 554, whence Lanzi De' vasi antichi dipinti volgarmente chiamati etruschi pl. 2, 1-2, Inghirami Mon. etr. 5 pll. 69-70, Dubois-Maisonneuve pl. 25, (A-B) Krause Gymnastik pl. 15 fig. 55, (detail) JHS. 23 p. 271 = Norman Gardiner G.A.S. p. 275, (detail) Alexander Greek Athletics p. 8, above; (detail), Norman Gardiner Athl. fig. 88; Diepolder Der Penthesilea-Maler pl. 29, 1 and pl. 28. I, youth and boy. A-B, athletes. About 460 B.C., by the Penthesilea Painter (ARV. p. 584 no. 22).

The cup is one of the oldest finds in the Museum collection of vases, for it was published by Mazzocchi in 1754-8. Inghirami, in 1824, speaks of it as in the Museo degli studi at Naples. Then it disappears, and does not come to light again till 1928.

Inside, a boy sits on a rough-hewn stone seat, wrapped in his himation, his feet dangling, while a youth leans on his stick talking to him. The youth's himation leaves both arms free, and he uses them to gesticulate. His face has a serious look; the boy smiles. As usual in this painter and his school, there are very few cross-squares in the maeander — only three. The 'odd man' of the maeander (see ii p. 24) is south.

Outside, the scene is laid in the palaestra. In the middle of A, a young athlete holds a pair of acontia in his left hand and a sling-like bag, containing a discus, in his right. He has picked up the acontia and taken the bag down from the wall, and is eager to begin. A pair of haltēres hangs beside him. He walks up to the trainer, a youth dressed in a himation and holding a forked wand. Near them is a fluted pillar, such as marked the starting-place. On the right, a second athlete walks away, looking back, with a pick in his hand for loosening the ground.

On the other half of the exterior the pillar is seen on the left of the picture, and beside it an athlete stoops, his left leg bent more than his right, his left hand resting on the left knee, his right arm extended with the hand open, palm inward. A young trainer moves quickly forward, looking round at him, holding out his forked wand. A second athlete comes up on the right, holding a pair of haltēres in his left hand, not using them, but watching the other, and following the movement with interest if not with a word of advice. A pair of boxer's thongs hangs on the wall, and a discus in its bag.

The single palmette, upright, circumscribed, is the Penthesilea Painter's most usual handle-ornament.

I do not remember any other figure like the athlete on the left of B. Norman Gardiner describes it as 'the best representation we have of a starter. A youthful runner stands ready to start beside a pillar which marks the starting-line, and opposite him stands a young trainer with his forked wand ready to correct him if he starts too soon' (G.A.S. pp. 275-6). The trainer, however, is not standing but hastening forward, perhaps thought of as at an angle of 45 degrees to the runner. It is practice, of course, not the race itself.

On other figures of athletes at the start see BSA. 46 pp. 9-13.

Most of the youths wear a thin head-fillet with a short turned-up tag in front. The youth with the discus on A has a string tied round his left wrist: such bracelets are common (Wolters Faden und Knoten als Amulett in ARW. 8, supplement). The post on A is capped by a sort of Doric cyma; this part is damaged in B. The disci are marked with a swastika, as often. The discus-bags are of the regular type; the bag on A is edged with egg-pattern. The pick has a single prong: such picks were used in the palaestra as well as the two-pronged ones, but are less common: see EVP. pp. 59, 60, and 80: both sorts occur on the psykter by Euthymides in Turin (ii p. 7, B. 7).

The inscriptions, each in two lines, are twice jοπαις καλος and thrice καλος jοπαις, but the familiar words are — wilfully one would say — garbled: this is common in the school of the Penthesilea Painter, and in his own work recurs on a cup in the Cabinet des Médailles (Paris, Cab. Méd. 820: see ii p. 67). On the Boston cup one reads, roughly: on I, ΗΟΠΔΛΣ ΚΔΛΟΣ, on A, ΚΔΠΟΣ ΗΟΠΔΛΝ twice, on B, ΚΔΛΟΣ ΗΟΠΔΛΛ and ΚΔΛΟΣ ΗΟΠΔΛΝ.

The surface of the cup is damaged in places: the faces of both athletes on B have suffered; so have the hand of one trainer and the arm of the other, and the left-hand haltēr on A. There is hardly any relief-contour. The brown inner markings on the bodies do not all come out in the photographs. Brown lines are used for minor folds in the himation of the boy inside and the trainer on A. The painter forgot to fill in the background above the discus on A, and between one of the palmette-tendrils and the handle. The cup is an example of the painter's everyday work, not careful, but lively and free.

The cup is of type B. Bloesch observes that most of the Penthesilea Painter's cups belong to what he calls the 'Three-corner Group' from the form of the edge of the foot-plate, and were shaped by one potter (F.A.S. pp. 103-7). The foot of our finely fashioned cup is not 'three-cornered', but a thin torus, as in no. 102. The bowl is shallow, the stem thin; the jog on the upper side of the foot is a good way from the edge. Underneath the foot, a black band, not thick, and a black line.


ARV2, p. 882, no. 36; Para., p. 428, no. 36; J.-J. Maffre, BCH 96 (1972), p. 350, note 45; Beck 1975, pp. 21 (no. II/84), 30 (no. IV/3), 31 (no. IV/18) (all as 28.448), pls. 17 (fig. 93), 26 (fig. 143), 27 (fig. 150); Hornbostel 1977, p. 319, under no. 272 (H. Hoffmann); Brommer 1979a, pp. 10, 60; C. C. Mattusch, AJA 84 (1980), p. 442, note 42; Beazley Addenda 1, p. 148; Amasis Painter Colloquium, pp. 185-186 (D. von Bothmer); E. D. Serbeti, Boreas 12 (1989), p. 38, note 131; Beazley Addenda 2, p. 301; CVA, Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, 3, p. 74, under pl. 35 (C. Weiss).


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: