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Baltimore, Hopkins BMA 51.486

Bell Krater by the Christie Painter ca. 440 B.C.

51.486. Baltimore Museum of Art, from collection of Saidie May, purchased from J. Brummer. "Attica." Ht, 37 cm; diam rim, 32.5 cm; diam foot, 17.8 cm. Intact.

Side A

Striding winged Eos in right profile, left leg advanced, arms extended. She wears chiton with belted overfold; hair gathered at nape and surmounted by diadem with ornament executed in pellets of clay. In front of her and moving away is Kephalos, left leg advanced, head turned back in left profile. He wears chlamys fastened on right shoulder, laurel wreath, petasos hanging behind neck, and laced sandals. He carries two spears in his right hand. Behind Eos and moving away from her is similarly attired youth, grazing back at Eos, with his head in right profile. Inscribed in field above hand of Eos: Κ]ΑΛΕ.

Relief contour for face, back of neck, edge of wings of Eos, faces, and spears of youths. Relief line for drapery folds. Dilute glaze for ends of hair, borders of garments, thongs of boots, details on wings. Added white for ornament on diadem, laurel wreath, lettering. Reserved hairline.

Side B

Standing youth seen in right profile leans on staff and faces two other youths standing in left profile. All are draped in himatia and wear fillets; central youth also leans on staff. In field are halteres and bag. Added white for cords of bag and fillets. Reserved hairlines.

Beneath pictures is band of meander alternating with dotted cross-square; reserved band beneath. Leftward laurel wreath between reserved bands encircles vase above pictures. Band of tongues around base of handles. Reserved groove at juncture of body and foot.

About fifty vases have been attributed to the Christie Painter, of which twenty-five are bell kraters, the rest being calyx kraters, stamnoi, pelikai, and hydriai.1 Common to many of these vases are a meander and saltire border and a representation of three standing youths on the reverse.2

The Christie Painter favors Dionysiac themes and lively mythological scenes, such as Amazonomachies. On our vase, Eos, the goddess of dawn, is eagerly pursuing the Attic hunter Kephalos; according to some traditions, the offspring of that union will be Phaethon.3 The Christie Painter took up the subject a second time on a bell krater (now in Genoa) on which Eos again advances to her left, but now hastens to embrace a youth with a lyre.4 That figure is Tithonos, who requested from the deity eternal life but forgot to ask for eternal youth. As Tithonos grew older and less attractive, Eos enclosed him in a chamber, where according to some traditions he was transformed into a cicada.5 Behind Eos is a youth identical to the figure retreating from Eos on the Hopkins vase. The youth on the Genoa krater has been identified as Kephalos and the scene has been described as a conflation of the two romantic episodes.6 On the Hopkins vase, the retreating hunter is probably only a nameless, decorative pendant to Kephalos and typical of the unrelated bystanders who often appear in contemporary representations of the myth.7

The subjects of Eos and Tithonos and of Eos and Kephalos were very popular in late sixth- and early fifth-century vasepainting. The striking similarities between the representations suggest that the vasepaintings were inspired by a single pictorial prototype.8

The Christie Painter exercised a tremendous influence on a contemporary early Lucanian painter, the Pisticci Painter, who imitated the ornament and style of the Attic artist and even depicted the myth of Eos and Tithonos on at least three vases. The similarities between the two painters are so extensive that it is possible that the Pisticci Painter was trained in Athens and was even Greek.9


CVA, USA fasc. 6, Robinson fasc. 2, 32-33, pl. XLV; ARV2, 1048, no. 27; S. Kaempf-Dimitriadou, AntK Beiheft 11 (1979):85, no. 110; Brommer 1980, 24, no. 49.

1 ARV2, 1046-49; Para., 444, 517; J. D. Beazley, JHS 58 (1938):268; Hornbostel, 335, no. 286.

2 Buitron 1972, 128, no. 71, which is the same as ARV2, 1047, no. 20; Hornbostel 1977, 335, no. 286.

3 S. Kaempf-Dimitriadou, AntK Beiheft 11 (1979):17, 61 n. 94; Hes. Th. 986ff.; Paus. 1.3.1.

4 ARV2, 1048, no. 28, which is the same as Genoa 1216; CVA, Italy fasc. 19, Genoa fasc. 1, 6, pl. 9.

5 Hom. Od. 5.1; HH 5.218; Hellanikos frag. 140 Jacoby.

6 CVA, Genoa fasc. 1, 6, pl. 9.

7 Kaempf-Dimitriadou, AntK Beiheft 11 (1979):18.

8 See late archaic metope from Selinus [Holloway 1975, 19, 22]. Kaempf-Dimitriadou, AntK Beiheft 11 (1979):16-21; Trendall 1967, 16.

9 Trendall 1967, 9; Trendall 1966, 16; B. MacDonald, AJA 85 (1981): 160.

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (4):
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 986ff
    • Homer, Odyssey, 5.1
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 5 to Aphrodite, 218
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.3.1
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