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Minneapolis Inst. 57.1

Attic Black-Figure Neck-Amphora The Painter of Vatican 359 ca. 530 B.C.

Lent by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Museum Purchase (57.1).

The Vase: H. 39.5 cm; W. 30 cm; D. of mouth 18.8 cm; D. of foot 16.5 cm. Complete and in excellent condition except for glaze abrasion on body of A (goddess and on horses' legs) and reddening of black glaze on various spots all over the vase. Echinus mouth reserved on top; ring at junction of neck and shoulder; triple handles reserved on underside; fillet between foot and body; foot in two degrees composed of a low fillet above a torus. On the neck, both sides, lotus-palmette-chain. Tongue-pattern on shoulder at the junction of the neck. Below each handle, a configuration of four palmettes and three lotuses, three dots at center handle B/A and two dots on A/B. Below the figures, meander to left, then a frieze of upright lotus buds with dots in the interstices, and directly above the foot, a zone of rays.

Decoration: Side A: shoulder: a fight, between nude horsemen, between onlookers. On the left stands a woman (I) dressed in a peplos and in front of her a nude youth (2), both right. They are followed by a horseman (3), also to right. Next are the two combatants (4 and 5), each dressed in a short chiton and holding out a round shield (device on 5: balls). A scabbard is suspended from a baldric over the right shoulder of each, and right arm is raised, as if to hurl a spear, but the artist forgot to include it. On the right of the warriors is the second horseman (6), to left, and in back of him, two more onlookers, a male (7) with a cloak over both shoulders and boots and hat, and a woman (8) dressed as her counterpart on the left. Body: Poseidon and Amphitrite in a chariot to right. The two deities stand in the chariot, Amphitrite on the right-hand side holding the reins in both hands, Poseidon on the left holding his trident in his right hand and reaching down with his left to grasp the top of the breastwork of the chariot to steady himself when the vehicle starts to move. Each deity wears a long chiton with a himation over it. Round the head of Amphitrite is a wreath, round Poseidon's a fillet. A team of four draws the chariot, the two trace horses being slightly ahead of the two pole horses, which supply the main pulling power. This composition is the standard convention for the representation of four chariot horses in profile, but in reality, the four were probably abreast (see below). The right-hand trace horse is branded on the croup with a dot-rosette. On the left-hand side of the team are two deities, an unidentified goddess at right, gesturing to Hermes who stands to right, looking round. The goddess wears a peplos. Round her head is a fillet. Hermes is clad in a short chiton and cloak, and the brim of his petasos is turned up in the back. In his right hand he holds a kerykeion. The area of glaze in back of the goddess's left forearm is unintelligible. It cannot be part of her peplos or of Hermes' cloak, for these garments are clearly defined. Side B: shoulder: a fight, with horsemen and onlookers, similar to the one on A. On the left, a woman (1), dressed in a peplos, stands to right, preceded by a youth (2) with a cloak, and a horseman (3), both to right. Then come the combatants (4 and 5), each holding out a round shield seen in profile. The left warrior is nude and almost down on his right knee; the right wears a short chiton and appears more aggressive. As on the obverse, each has his right arm raised, but lacks a spear. On the right of the pair is the second horseman (6) and in back of him, three onlookers, to left. The first (7) may be Hermes, for he holds a kerykeion and wears boots in addition to his cloak and petasos. Then comes a youth (8) and a woman (9) each dressed in a long chiton. Body: departure of warrior. On the left stands a man to right, wearing only a cloak and fillet, his left hand raised in a gesture of farewell. In front of him, a woman in a long chiton with a cloak over it and a fillet round her head bids farewell to the youthful warrior (no beard appears below the cheekpiece of his helmet) in front of her who steps to right, looking round. He wears a low-crested Corinthian helmet, a short pleated chiton with a corslet over it, and greaves. A sword is suspended from a baldric over his right shoulder (some of the scabbard appears in back just above the warrior's chiton) and on his left arm he carries a round shield seen in profile (device: tripod). The picture is completed on the right by the youth standing to left wearing a long chiton with a cloak over it. Added red: Cores of lotuses; hearts of palmettes. Alternate tongues. Ring at junction. Fillet between foot and body. On the shoulder of A: part of skirt of chiton of 4; skirt of chiton of 5; cloak of 7; some of peplos of 8 and 1; also horses' manes and tails, and crest of 5. On the body of A: wreath and fillets; beards; stripes on cloaks; cores of rosettes on Amphitrite's chiton; most of overfold of peplos, dots on upper part of overfold, cores of rosettes on skirt; part of chariot box; manes of right-hand pole and trace horses, tail of right-hand pole horse; breast band of right-hand trace horse. On the shoulder of B: part of peplos of 1; cloak of 2; shield of 5, skirt of his chiton; part of Hermes' cloak; part of garments of 8 and 9, horses' manes and tails and decoration on shield of 4. On the body of B: beard; hair of youth at right; fillets; stripes on garments; dots on chitons; crest support of helmet. Added white: On the body of A: flesh of goddesses; dots of rosettes on Amphitrite's chiton and the goddess' peplos; right-hand pole horse. On the body of B: woman's flesh; shield device.

This type of neck-amphora with a broad, flat shoulder is not a very frequent type and all of the known examples may be dated between 540 and 520 B.C. The most important of them is the earliest,Berlin F 1720, which is signed on top of the mouth by Exekias as both potter and painter. Exekias may have introduced this type into Attic black-figure, just as he probably did the canonical amphora type A, the eye-cup (see Champaign 70.8.1, Moon 1979, No. 51), and the calyx-krater (see Toledo 1963.26, Moon 1979, No. 62). Six of his nine neck-amphorae are of this type (ABV, 143-144, nos. 1-6), and four of them also have figures on the shoulder: Narbonne (ABV, 144, no. 2); New York 17.230.14 (ABV, 144, no. 3; CVA, USA 16, Metropolitan Museum 4, pls. 16-19); Boston 89.273 (ABV, 144, no. 4; CVA, USA 14, Boston 1, pls. 29-32);Munich 1470 (ABV, 144, no. 6; CVA, Germany 32, Munich 7, pls. 352-354). The potter of our vase may even have known those by Exekias, and the painter's style shows certain similarities to that of the early work of the master.

The subject of A suggests a departure, particularly because Hermes is present. Since Amphitrite drives the chariot, which is unusual, perhaps she and Poseidon are on their way to the Gigantomachy: on the north frieze of the Siphnian Treasury, slabs D and E show Amphitrite guiding Poseidon's chariot as he attacks two oncoming giants (see Delphi, Siphnian Treasury Frieze--North; cf. most recently, BCH Supp. 4 [1977] 316-317, figs. 8-9), and she may have driven his chariot in the splendid representation of this battle by Lydos on Athens, Acr. 607 (ABV, 107, no. 1; AJA 83 [1979] 91, ills. 1 and 2). For the harnessing of an actual chariot team in antiquity, cf.Spruyette 1977, esp. pp. 53-69 for the Greek chariot. Spruyette has shown that it would not be necessary for the trace horses to be slightly ahead of the pole horses, as they appear in nearly all representations of the chariot in profile in archaic Greek sculpture and painting. Very likely, this manner of representing the team is a convention used to clarify the elements of the composition. The only exception to this arrangement in Attic black-figure known to me occurs on W├╝rzburg L 307, a hydria in the manner of the Antimenes Painter (ABV, 276, no. 4). Here, the four horses are shown abreast and the composition appears very dense and crowded.

From about 550 B.C., brands occasionally appear on painted horses. The earliest example seems to be the swastika incised on the croup of a mount painted on the hydria in Basel attributed to the Archippe Painter by Bothmer (AntK 12 [1969] pls. 17-18). In reality, they were probably marks of ownership, value, or breeding. Cf., most recently, Kroll 1977, 83-146.


Beazley 1958, 40-41; Para., 59, no. 2.

Mary B. Moore, Hunter College

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