Attic Red-Figure Kylix
ca. 480 B.C.
Lent by The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Hinman B. Hurlbert
Collection, 1915 (508.15).
h. (as restored) 12.0 cm;
d. of rim 29.5 cm; w. 36.3 cm. Broken and repaired, the missing fragments,
including the stem, restored in plaster. The foot is alien.
full-striding figure of Dionysos with a
satyr skipping merrily behind him. Dionysos, holding the end of a
long-tendrilled grapevine in his left hand and a kantharos in his right, casts a
startling glance back over his right shoulder at the satyr who appears to have
just slapped the god on his back. Max Wegner points out the amusing
juxtaposition of these two figures — the massive, dour figure of
Dionysos, and the light-hearted satyr who attracts as much attention for his
spirited antics as does the god by the space he fills (Wegner 1968, 155
). Both figures are set on a ground
line, the space below reserved in red clay. The border alternates single
meanders and saltire squares; the meanders with minor exceptions run alternately
clockwise and counterclockwise.
The exterior is decorated with figures of satyrs and maenads,
arranged alternately, a group of five figures on each side, and complex
palmette-designs at each handle. Wegner analyzes these compositions in depth in
a comparison with six other cups bearing Dionysiac scenes (Wegner 1968, pp. 156ff.
). As in the tondo scene,
Douris has played off the naked, raucous satyrs against the heavily clad, more
ponderous female figures.
Douris's favorite vase-shape by far was the kylix. Beazley in ARV2
, lists 256 cups and cup-skyphoi to a mere 24 examples of
all other shapes combined in Douris' oeuvre. It is surprising then, that of the
three Douris vases in Cleveland, only one should be a kylix and the other two
In 1915 the kylix was put on permanent loan to the Museum from the
estate of Hinman B. Hurlbut. The cup, heavily restored at the time it was given
to Cleveland, went unrecognized until 1953 when the adhesives disintegrated and
the cup collapsed into a heap of sherds. These fragments were subsequently
divested of large areas of puritanical overpaint and rejoined. The drawing thus
unveiled was fine enough to spur the then curator, Sherman E. Lee, to send
photos to Sir John Beazley who wrote back, "... the red-figured cup is a very
good and important piece, the work of Douris in his late middle-period, about
480 or a little after." See S. E. Lee, "A Cup
by Douris," AJA 58 (1954) 230, pls. 41,
. Letter from J. D. Beazley, dated March 17, 1953. See also ARV2, 436, no. III
The collection of vases in Cleveland was not a particularly
impressive one, and perhaps Beazley was being kind in his assessment, for the
kylix is only a rather typical example of Douris' later work. The subject matter
on all sides is perfectly straight-forward for this period.
Douris' drawing is best in the tondo figures, especially Dionysos'
face, the satyr's kicked-up left foot, and in the left-hand satyr figures in
both scenes of the underside of the cup. Other areas are either obscured by
damage or are rather clumsily or casually drawn. The tight, patterned groups of
lines for drapery folds and the heavily drawn hemlines are typical for this
period of Douris' work, and along with the tondo border-decoration, are guides
for dating the cup.
CVA, USA 15, Cleveland 1, p.
24, pls. 37, 2 and 38 for complete description and
Arielle P. Kozloff, The Cleveland Museum of Art