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Baltimore, Hopkins AIA B13

Neck Amphora by the Harrow Painter ca. 480 B.C.

B 13. Baltimore Society AIA, formerly Hartwig Collection. "Tarentum." Ht, 39 cm; diam mouth, 16.1 cm; diam foot, 11 cm. Mended from many pieces, with handles and most of rim restored in plaster. Foot is ancient but may not belong. Alien lid with which vase was first published is now at the University of Mississippi.

Scenes on both sides are unframed, with figures standing on narrow bands as groundlines.

Side A

Silenos strides forward in right profile, hands bound behind back. Following him is a bearded hunter who looks back, head in left profile. Hunter wears boots, short chiton that has a black border at neckline and hem, and petasos hanging behind neck. Right hand holds two spears; left hand hold ends of the thongs that wrap Silenos's wrists. To the hunter's left is hunting dog.

Relief contour line throughout. Relief line for drapery detail, top of boots, thongs. Hair outlined in reserve. Dilute glaze for inner details of body, neck and sleeve of chiton. Added purple for petasos cord, thongs of Silenos.

Side B

Bearded Midas stands three-quarters left, face in left profile. He wears a pleated chiton beneath himation, carries staff in upraised right hand. Some relief contours. Hair and beard outlined in reserve. Dilute glaze for inner details of chiton.

Tongues above each picture, terminating beneath handles. Graffito on shoulder.

When Dionysos was passing through Asia Minor, Silenos, a human-equine member of the entourage, wandered away and was captured by a hunter who brought the captive to King Midas.1 The king returned Silenos to Dionysos, and the grateful deity agreed as a reward to grant Midas's wish that everything he touched be turned to gold. Midas soon discovered, however, that all food and drink became golden, too, and thus he appealed to Dionysos to remove the magic touch. The god instructed Midas to wash in the river Pactolus, which henceforth became renowned for its gold-bearing sands.

This adventure of Midas was first seen on Chiote and Spartan vases of the mid-sixth century.2 Around the year 500 B.C. the subject appeared in Attic vase-painting, where it remained popular for the next one hundred fifty years.3 Artists depicted several different moments in the tale, including the capture of Silenos in Midas's garden, his abduction to King Midas, and his presentation before the king. Not before the fifth century do we find Midas depicted in oriental dress,4 and after 450 B.C. he wears the ass ears that he acquired by unwisely voting against Apollo in a musical competition.5

The Harrow Painter is known for almost one hundred large vases, of which half are amphorae and column kraters.6 The profile of the body of the Baltimore example compares most closely with those of the artist's neck amphorae with twisted handles, and for this reason twisted handles have been restored on our vessel.7

The Harrow Painter was most comfortable with genre subjects, but on his amphorae he occasionally turned to mythological and especially Dionysiac themes. His style was inspired primarily by that of the Berlin Painter, whose influence is apparent in the use of one or two quietly standing figures on each side of the amphora, and in the tendency to distribute figures from a single scene on both sides of the vase. The Harrow Painter falls short of the Berlin Painter, however, both in draughtsmanship and in the ability to endow a scene with emotional content. Our painter also has a tendency to repeat his figures, especially the older man draped in a mantle.8

The graffito on the shoulder of the vessel was applied after the vase was fired. Although most graffiti are thought to carry a commercial meaning, the unusual position of this mark may denote ownership or dedication.9 The lettering is Etruscan or possibly Oscan.10


FR, 252, no. 3; J. D. Beazley, JHS 36 (1916):133, no. 30; Beazley 1918, 56; Hoppin 1919, vol. II, 3, no. 3; Beazley 1925, 120, no. 40; CVA, USA fasc. 6, Robinson fasc. 2, 25, pls. XXIX, XXX; Brommer 1941, 40, no. 4, and 44, fig. 6; Ancient Art in American Private Collections (Cambridge, 1954), no. 278, pl. LXXXIII; ARV2, 73, no. 22; Brommer 1973, 535, no. B4.

1 Hdt. 8.138; Xen. Anab. 1.2.13. See Brommer 1941, 36.

2 F. Brommer, AntK Beiheft 7 (1970):55-57.

3 Brommer 1941, 43.

4 F. Brommer, AntK Beiheft 7 (1970): 56.

5 Ibid., 56; Brommer 1941, 43; Ovid Met. 11.153ff.; Hyginus Fab. 191.1.

6 ARV2, 272-77; Para., 353-54, with note on alien lid, which is in Mississippi, not Cambridge. J. D. Beazley, JHS 58 (1938):267-68.

7 Our vase is especially similar to ARV2, 272, no. 6, upon which the restoration of our vase is based. I thank very much D. von Bothmer, who provided photographs and advice. Through no fault of his, the handles of our restoration are not quite correctly proportioned.

8 ARV2, 272, no. 8, which is the same as Münzen, 40 (December 13, 1969): 60, no. 100, pl. 41. ARV2, 273, no. 19 bis, is the same as Münzen, 13 (May 1961): 89, no. 165, pl. 55.

9 Boardman 1974, 202; Johnston 1979, 5, 6, 8.

10 I owe this suggestion to A. Johnston.

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