previous next

89. 95.43 LEKYTHOS from Thebes (see no. 88) PLATE XLVI, 89

Height 0.408. VA. p. 75 fig. 45; Classical Studies presented to Edward Capps p. 245 fig. 4 (Luce). Athena. About 470-460 B.C., by the Providence Painter (VA. p. 76 and p. 79 no. 35; Att. V. p. 135 no. 44; ARV. p. 434 no. 55). On the left, downwards, ΗΙΠΠΟΝΚΑΛΟΣ, and above, to left of the face, horizontal, ΚΑΛΕ, referring to the goddess.

The goddess stands in almost the same attitude as Apollo on the last lekythos, holding her helmet out in her right hand, and with her left grasping her spear near the top. She wears a chiton, a himation draped in the 'Ionic' fashion and passing over the left shoulder, the aegis, earring, bracelets. The fringed head-band is set in front with leaves, perhaps of gold. The gorgoneion shows tongue but no teeth. The forehead of the goddess is missing, the left elbow and upper arm, and the end of the mass of hair. The figure is fully contoured with relief-lines. The inner line of the hair-contour is in relief. The brown lines are seen in the reproduction, except those on the sleeves.

The Providence Painter has other bare-headed Athenas, but none in this attitude, standing bare-headed with the helmet in one hand and the spear in the other. This conception of the goddess, however, is frequent in the late archaic and early classic periods, and culminates, as is well known, in a masterpiece of sculpture, the Dresden-Bologna Athena, the Lemnia, it may be, of Pheidias. This was shown by Furtwängler (Mast. pp. 13-17), who also noticed that once the conception had found full expression in the great bronze statue, it lost its popularity elsewhere, and is rarely found on later vases or in other works of art.1 Lippold has suggested (Gnomon 14 pp. 229-30) that a late archaic statue, set up at Athens in a prominent place, is behind the many bare-headed Athenas, earlier than the Dresden-Bologna, which hold the helmet in one hand and the spear in the other; and he conjectures that a basalt torso in Leningrad may be a copy of it (Waldhauer Die antiken Skulpturen der Eremitage iii pl. 1, no. 213). Of these Athenas we mention only those that stand frontal as in the Boston lekythos:

    (1) With upright spear.
    • Vatican, amphora of panathenaic shape. Mus. Greg. ii pl. 58, 2; Berl. pl. 11. By the Berlin Painter (ARV. p. 132 no. 13).
    • London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Nolan amphora. Klein Liebl. p. 155. By the Nikon Painter (ARV. p. 441 no. 2).
    • London E 324, Nolan amphora. El. pl. 80, whence (the Athena) Furtwängler Mast. p. 14; CV. pl. 61, 3. By the Sabouroff Painter (ARV. p. 559 no. 67).
    • Berlin 2251, white lekythos. Benndorf GSV. pl. 27, 3.
    (2) With slanting spear: this would correspond, in a profile figure, to the spear held slanting over the shoulder:
    • New York 27.122.6, lekythos. Richter and Hall pl. 29, 29. By the Tithonos Painter (ARV. p. 207 no. 14).
    • London E 268, neck-amphora. El. 1 pl. 76; CV. pl. 9, 2 and pl. 10, 2. By the Berlin Painter, middle period (ARV. p. 133 no. 24).
    • Leyden 18h33, neck-amphora. El. 1 pl. 76a. By the Berlin Painter, middle period (ARV. p. 133 no. 25).
It will be noticed that all these Athenas turn the head towards the spear; only the Athena in Boston turns the head towards the helmet like the Dresden-Bologna.2

ARV2, p. 640, no. 75; B. A. Sparkes, JHS 87 (1967), p. 124; M. Robertson, AntK 13 (1970), p. 13, note 10; N. Kunisch, AM 89 (1974), pp. 91 (no. 79), 93.

1 The Lansdowne Relief (Burl. Cat. 1903 pl. 35; Schrader Pheidias p. 95), now Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg, 231 a (Katalog 1940 pp. 170-1 and Billedtavler 2nd suppl. pl. 5) is recognized to be not a fifth-century original, but a classicizing work of the Greco-Roman age.

2 (From Addenda to Parts I and II) Pp. 42-43, on bare-headed Athenas see also Szilágyi in Bull. Hongr. 14 p. 33.

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