Harvard 1963.69BLACK-FIGURE HYDRIA
Lent by the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; bequest of Edith J. Purrington (1963.69)
Height: 17 5/16 in. (44 cm.)
Broken and repaired; missing pieces restored and painted.
Theseus and the Minotaur. Theseus, dressed in loincloth with a fillet in his long hair, grasps the horn of the Minotaur with one hand and stabs him with a short sword. The Minotaur falls to one knee, raising one arm to throw a rock. On either side stand a youth and a girl, the companions of Theseus, raising their arms in alarm. Each youth is nude but for a chlamys over his arm; the girls wear peploi, mantles, and fillets in their hair. On the shoulder: komos. Four pairs of dancing satyrs and maenads. The satyrs are nude and have bushy tails. The maenads wear peploi and have fillets in their hair. Double rows of ivy and corymboi (ivy berries) frame the main panel laterally. Above the shoulder scene, alternately red and black framed tongues. Red is used in the design areas and to articulate parts of the shape. Red: the men's hair, the Minotaur's mane, fillets, upper parts of peploi, traces on mantles of girls, loincloth of Theseus, breast of the Minotaur and youth to far right. Two lines running all around the vase at the base of the scene, narrow ridges on the upper and lower edges of the mouth, ends of the half spools attaching the vertical handle to the lip, three narrow mouldings on the foot, line on comes of foot, fillet between base and foot. White: traces on female flesh.
Unattributed 550 - 530 B.C. In shape and in style this hydria is close to two hydriai in the Louvre (Louvre F 38 and Louvre F 39) signed by Timagoras as potter and attributed to the Taleides Painter. The shape with broad belly and sloping shoulder, gently offset, is popular just after the middle of the sixth century. The mouth, handles, and foot which are sturdy and elaborate imply metal work prototypes. The subject, the legendary slaying of the Minotaur which ended the tribute Athens paid to Crete, reached its height of popularity with Attic vase painters during the third quarter of the sixth century. At this time a canonical scheme for its representation was established. This hydria is an excellent example of the canon. The action has lost its vigor and has acquired a ceremonial character. (Compare with Harvard 1960.312 which is more vigorous.)