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RISD 25.088

RED-FIGURE ALABASTRON


Lent by the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design; museum appropriation and special gift (Mrs. Gustav Radeke) (25.088)


Height: 7 1/4 in. (18.3 cm.)


Broken and repaired; missing several pieces. From Greece.


Side A: woman with two children. A woman dressed in chiton with kolpos, her hair worn in a krobylos, looks apprehensively to her right. In her left arm is a child intended to be a baby but shown with the long limbs of an adult. She wears a fillet in her hair. At her side, holding onto the fold of her kolpos, is another child, also looking to the left. On his body is a net pattern, possibly resulting from cloth wrapping on the aryballos. In his right hand is a dagger. Hanging on the wall is a sakkos, and on the ground beside the woman is a wool basket.

Side B: youth and woman. The woman (missing head) in chiton and himation stands on the left holding a mirror. She extends one hand towards a youth who sits in a chair and holds a staff in one hand, extending his other hand towards the woman.

Above, below, and on the sides are triple meanders alternating with cross-squares.


Attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter [Beazley] ca. 460 - 450 B. C.

The pattern on the chest of the boy on side A was tested in the Fogg Conservation Laboratory and found to be resistant to oxalic acid, therefore it is carbonized vegetable matter, not merely a superficial stain. K. Phillips suggested that this might result from the use of the vase as a votive gift at the funeral pyre; we know that alabastra were used for this purpose (Richter & Milne 1935, 17).

The vase, intended as a funerary gift, might be said to depict the departure of a loved one. The composition on the reverse, reminiscent of grave stelai of the same period, might represent the farewell of a young wife to her husband. On the observe, other relatives mourn for her. The calm understatement of emotion is characteristic of the classical period.


Bibliography

CVA, USA 2, p. 29, pl. 22, 3; Beazley, Review CVA USA 2 by S. B. Luce, JHS 53 (1933) 311, no. 11 bis; S. B. Luce, "Four Red-Figured Vases in Providence," AJA 35 (1931) 301-303; ARV2, 624, no. 88.

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