previous next

Baltimore, Hopkins 9260

Black-Figure Neck Amphora by the Michigan Painter ca. 500 B.C.

9260. Ht, 21.5 cm; diam rim, 11.4 cm; diam body, 14.2 cm; diam foot, 7.5 cm. Mended from many pieces.

Upper surface of rim reserved; neck glazed inside. Glazed triple handles with undersides reserved. Profiled ridge separating neck from body; ring molding between body and foot. Both ridge and molding are painted red.

Side A

Glazed groundline. A bull in left profile collapses beneath the attack of two lions. In field above is inscription ISIS. Added red for dots in lions' manes and for streams of blood under mouth and claws.

Side B

Two bulls drink from vessel between them. Vines above their heads wind from base of handles.

Framed by a line above and a line beneath are three palmettes. The central seven-petal palmette is upright, the flanking five-petal palmettes are suspended. Two dots flank the middle leaf of the central palmette and two more dots lie on the inner sides of the middle leaves of the side palmettes.

Band of black tongues above picture. Beneath picture is a line, then two staggered rows of dots, double lines, rays. Foot glazed except for bottom of sides and underside. Below handles are volutes terminating in triple lotuses. Beneath foot is dipinto.

This vase is the work of the Michigan Painter, whom Beazley later recognized to be identical with the Painter of Brussels R 312, an artist of the Dot-Band Class who was active in the late sixth century.1 The painter principally worked on small neck amphorae, but he also painted larger neck amphorae, Panathenaic amphorae, stamnoi, and at least one oinochoe.

On the necks of the small amphorae we find two distinct palmette patterns. In the scheme on our example and on those vases originally attributed to the Painter of Brussels R 312, the central seven-petal palmette is upright and enclosed by four dots, while the flanking palmettes are suspended and have five petals each. These later palmettes can also be seen in the ornament under the handles of Brussels R 312. On amphorae formerly assigned to the Michigan Painter, the central seven-petal palmette is suspended and there are no dots, while the flanking upright palmettes have five or seven petals.

On his small neck amphorae, the Michigan Painter favors the heroic themes popular in the late sixth century, such as the Labors of Herakles (on examples in London2 and Maplewood3, of Ajax and Achilles (on vases in Brussels4 and Lucerne5), and of Peleus and Thetis (on an amphora in Boulogne6 [Boulogne no. 85]). He is also fond of Hermes, whom we find on another example in Boulogne7 (Boulogne no. 13), and of komos or Dionysiac figures, who appear on amphorae in Michigan8 and Chicago9.

The Michigan Painter was content with a limited repertory of motifs. The bull on the Hopkins vase is almost identical with the one defeated by Herakles on the amphora in London and is clearly inspired by black-figure representations of the Cretan bull in combat with Herakles.10 The reverses are particularly redundant, and usually feature dancing figures. The two women on the reverse of the Michigan amphora are almost identical with those on the reverses of the vases in Boulogne (Boulogne 85) and London, except for their gestures and details like the addition of castanets. The two youths flanking the woman on the obverse of the Michigan vase are replaced by satyrs on the reverse of the amphora in Chicago and by women on the reverse of the example in Boulogne.

The signature characteristics of the painter were pointed out by Philippaki:11 the stacked arcs for the knees, the emphatic engraved arcs delineating the upper contour of the beard, and the description of the eye by means of a circle set between short horizontal lines. Typical of his treatment of animals are the four gashes for the ribs, the preponderance of wrinkles under the neck and behind the forelegs, and the presence of one or two arcs on the shoulder [e.g., on our bull, on the bull on the amphora in London, and on the horse on the reverse of the vase in Maplewood]. On his human figures we often find two horizontal lines for the mouth, a large shock of hair above the forehead, and an emphatically beaked nose. The collarbone is described by a long incision terminating in an arc, and the ribs are delineated by a cluster of lines.

To the vases assembled by Beazley we can add a further example that was recently on the art market in Freiburg.12 The neck pattern on that amphora is identical to the one on the Hopkins vase. On the obverse we find Herakles fighting Nereus, a subject compatible with this artist's known affinity for that hero. The composition and much of the detail in the scene compare closely with the representation of Peleus and Thetis on the amphora, Boulogne 85. On the reverse of the Freiburg vase, the woman flanked by two armed warriors can be compared with the scene on the reverse of the Brussels amphora, where two warriors are shown in combat. Finally, the Freiburg figures exhibit the jutting chin, nose, and back of the head familiar in other works from the hand of this artist.

The scene on the observe of the Hopkins vase is a familiar one in Attic sculpture of the last half of the sixth century. Pedimental groups representing one or two lions in triumph over a fallen bull have been assigned to the Hekatompedon and to the Peisistratid temple on the Acropolis. Another pedimental group was found in the Agora.13

The dipinto on the underside of the foot is of the type classified by Johnston as 32Av. The same mark appears on two oinochoai in Boston by the Chicago Painter. Those vases are said to come from Gela, a provenance that supports Johnston's contention that dipinti bore commercial information relevant to the export of the vessels.14

1 The Michigan Painter is discussed in ABV, 343-44. For the Dot-Band class, recognized by the dot band beneath the scene and by the ornament on the neck, see ABV, 483, and Para., 220-21. The Painter of Brussels R 312 is discussed in ABV, 483. The artists are identified in Para., 221, with other additions on 157. See also Philippaki 1967, 22.

2 London B 277 (Herakles and the Bull), ABV, 343, no. 8, which is the same as CVA, GB fasc. 5, BM fasc. 4, pl. 70.

3 Maplewood (Herakles and Antaeus) is the same as Para., 157, no. 9 quarter.

4 Brussels R 312, ABV, 483, no. 1, is the same as Para., 157, no. 9 bis, which is the same as CVA, Belgium fasc. 1, Brussels fasc. 1, 3, pl. 9.1. See S. Woodford, AJA 84 (1980):37, no. G.1.

5 Lucerne, art market, which is the same as Para., 157, no. 9 ter. See S. Woodford, AJA 84 (1980): 37, no. G.3.

6 Musée des beaux-arts et d'archéologie, Inv. no. 85-B, ABV, 483, no. 3 is the same as Para., 157, no. 9, 6.

7 Boulogne, 13-A, ABV, 483, no. 4 is the same as Para., 157, no. 97.

8 Ann Arbor 2599, ABV, 344, no. 9 is the same as CVA, USA fasc. 3, Michigan fasc. 1, 30, pl. XIV.3.

9 Chicago 1889.97, ABV, 483, no. 2 is the same as Para., 157, no. 9, 5.

10 See Shapiro 1981a, 64, no. 23.

11 Philippaki 1967, 22.

12 Galerie Günter Puhze, Stadtstrasse 28, D-7800 Freiburg.

13 For the Hekatompedon, see Ridgway 1977, 199. The Peisistratid temple is discussed on 205-8, and the Agora pediment on 210. Still another group is divided between Athens and New York (210).

14 Johnston 1979, 85-86; D. von Bothmer, review of Johnston in AJA 85 (1981): 353.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: