Videos ()
Historic Images of the Greek Bronze Age: The Reproductions of E. Gilliéron and Son


Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Attributed to the Metope Painter

Late Classical
3rd quarter of the 4th century B.C.
Greek, South Italian, Apulian
Terracotta; red-figure
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Bernard and Audrey Aronson Charitable Trust Gift, in memory of her beloved husband, Bernard Aronson, 1995
Accession Number:
  • Description

    On the body, obverse, woman with attendant in naiskos (shrine) flanked by youth and women
    Reverse, woman in naiskos flanked by youths and women
    On the shoulder, obverse, Eros with alabastron and mirror within foliage
    Reverse, head of a woman within foliage

    This imposing and beautifully executed vase, together with its counterpart exhibited here, is of exceptional interest for the architectural structure on the obverse. A small naiskos, rendered with three columns, encloses a woman, her maid who holds out a small casket, and a metal loutrophoros. Between the level on which they stand and the podium for the shrine are two panels with a pair of confronted lions. The podium itself consists of an upper frieze of triglyphs, alternating with metopes showing Greeks fighting Amazons. The lower element is covered with tendrils enclosing a female head. Although naiskoi are common on Apulian vases, the complexity and elaboration here are unusual. The unresolved question is to what extent the representation reflects actual funerary structures and the limestone reliefs
    familiar especially from Tarentum.

  • References

    Trendall, Arthur Dale and Alexander Cambitoglou. 1983. First Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia. London: Institute Of Classical Studies, pp. 70-72, pl. 9.

    Mertens, Joan. 1995. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1994-1995." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 53(2): p. 12.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 169, pp. 150, 436-37.

    Marconi, Clemente. 2011. "The birth of an image: The painting of a statue of Herakles and theories of representation in ancient Greek culture." Res: Anthopology and Aesthetics, 59/60: p. 165, fig. 18.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History