RISD 25.088RED-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.