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Column Krater Harvard 1960.339

Among the grandest and most monumentally conceived of the Harrow Painter's works is the column-krater Harvard 1960.339 (

), found at Ruvo and formerly in the collections of the Princess Tricase and David M. Robinson.1 A large vessel, 49.2 cm. tall, it was found unbroken in a grave. The shape is more or less standard, with a bulbous body tapering to a torus foot in two degrees, a concave neck, "columnar" handles topped by horizontal plates, and a thick, overhanging rim, concave on the sides and slightly convex on top. The ornamental bands framing the pictures — tongues above and ivy vines at the sides — are also standard, as are the rays and red stripes circling the lower body. The top of the mouth is decorated with black palmettes on the handle plates and bands of lotus buds on the rim (

). On the reverse, the side of the rim has the usual ivy vine (

), but the obverse rim has pairs of horizontal red-figure palmettes, arranged back-to-back and enclosed in lyre-shaped tendrils, a unique ornament for a column-krater (

). 2

The subject on the reverse of the Harvard krater is a concert, or to be more precise, a musical competition, perhaps at the Panathenaic festival. The youth leaning on his staff at the right holds the forked wand of a judge (

), and the youth playing a cithara is wearing a musician's festal costume: a diadem and a long gown with a black border (

). The musician has just struck the strings with the plektron in his right hand (

). The strap that normally loops around the left wrist to support the cithara while freeing the hand is instead looped over a bulge in the sound box (

). The musician has raised his head, but his mouth is closed. If he is about to sing, he is a citharode, but if he is only playing and not singing, he is properly termed a citharist; competitions for both were held at the Panathenaia.3 Two other draped males stand at the left, a youth and a bearded man; they seem more interested in one another than in the music. The size of the vessel required the painter to add these extraneous characters; another, smaller column-krater by the painter has a more tightly-knit group of citharode and judge.4

1 ARV2, 274, 39; Beazley Addenda 2, 103; CVA, Robinson 2, 25-27, pls. 31-33; H. A. Shapiro, "Theseus, Athens, and Troizen," AA (1982) 294, fig. 4; B. Gentili, "Il Ditirambo XVII Sn. di Bacchilide e il cratere Tricase da Ruvo," ArchCl 6 (1954) 121-25, pls. 30-31; J. J. Pollitt, "Pots, Politics, and Personifications in Early Classical Athens," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (Spring 1987) 11-12, fig. 4.

2 Cf. the black palmettes on the rim of Cleveland 30.104, by the Cleveland Painter (ARV2, 516, 1). Palmettes like those on the Harvard vase enjoyed a brief vogue in this period and are found on Nolan amphorae and other shapes; e.g. Brussels 721, a Nolan by the Eucharides Painter (ARV2, 226, 5), and Leiden PC 83, a hydria by the Kleophrades Painter, (ARV2, 188, 71). On two other column-kraters, the Harrow Painter put palmettes of a related type — slanted, back-to-back, and linked by coiling tendrils — on the obverse neck: Munich, private collection; JdI 94 (1979) 103, fig. 36; Padgett 1989 (supra) 191-92, fig. 115, no. H.65A; and another once in the New York art market, Sotheby's, May 20, 1982, no. 100; Padgett 1989 (supra) 192, no. H.65B.

3 For citharodes and citharists, see Neils 1992, 58-60 and 65-71 (H. A. Shapiro).

4 New York art market; Padgett 1989 (supra) no. H. 65B. The citharode, in this case a bearded man, wears the same type of gown, with a broad black border.

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