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Wellesley 1961.5

BLACK-FIGURE HYDRIA


Lent by the Wellesley College Art Museum (1961.5)


Height: 17 1/2 in. (44.4 cm.)


Broken and repaired at lip, handles, and neck. Under foot, graffito.


Women at the fountain. Seven women, all but one carrying hydriae on their heads, gossip animatedly on their way to and from a fountain house. They are dressed in richly embroidered peploi, and four of them wear himatia as well. The two at the left have arrived at the fountain house, and one is filling her hydria from the lion's head water-spout. Her companion, with empty hydria still on her head, waits her turn. The fountain house is represented by a white Doric column with entablature, a base on which to put the hydria, a trough running beside this base, and a lion's head waterspout. Of the other women, two are approaching with empty hydriae, and three are leaving, their vertically balanced hydriae on their heads.

In the predella: a hunt. Four youths attack a hapless doe; one javelin has already pierced her breast.

On the shoulder: a fight. Two warriors attack a third. All wear Corinthian helmets and carry shields and javelins. The warrior to the right has a raven device on his shield. At the right and left two women, gesticulating anxiously and looking back, run away from the fight.

The main scene is framed laterally by double rows of ivy and below by a red line. Two red lines circling the vase form the base of the predella. The shoulder scene is bordered above by framed tongues, alternately red and black. At the base of the vase are rays enclosed by a red line above and a fillet painted red at the juncture of base and foot. The upper edge of the foot is also red.

Red: ornaments and edges of the women's clothing, fillets, and the irises of their eyes; on the scene below, the horses' manes and the doe's neck; on the shoulder scene, the warrior's crests, one chitoniskos, the javelins, and the edges of the shields.

White: women's flesh, dot rosettes on the dresses, and the raven emblem on the shield on the shoulder, Doric column of fountain house.


Unattributed ca. 530 B. C.

The hydria has been related to the Antimenes Painter by D. von Bothmer. Close stylistic parallels are found in two hydriae also showing women at the fountain and inscribed with the kale name Anthyle (W├╝rzburg L 304, London B 33; ABV, 676). The subject of the main panel is closely related to the use of the vessel and provides a glimpse into the everyday life of late sixth-century Athens. The subject was popular with the Antimenes Painter, his contemporary the Lysippides Painter, and a host of other late sixth-century black-figure vase painters. A hydria in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston 61.195; Para., 147, no. 5 bis) published by Herbert Hoffmann (BMFA 61 [1963] 12 ff), shows us the actual appearance of an Archaic Greek fountain house: a three-sided, colonnaded court with three waterspouts on the wall of each side.


Bibliography

Shell & McAndrew 1964, 113-114 ill.

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