Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta oinochoe: chous (jug)

Attributed to the Meidias Painter
Period:
Classical
Date:
ca. 420–410 B.C.
Culture:
Greek, Attic
Medium:
Terracotta; red-figure
Dimensions:
H. 8 7/16 in. (21.4 cm) diameter 7 1/16 in. (17.9 cm)
Classification:
Vases
Credit Line:
Gift of Samuel G. Ward, 1875
Accession Number:
75.2.11
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 159
The scene depicts two women in festive dress perfuming garments. A stool suspended by chords is piled with folded clothing. On the ground below, there is a pile of wood shavings and twigs from which smoke rises. One woman carefully empties an oinochoe onto the fire. The other woman surveys the "swing" and stands beside a stately chair with a footstool over which more clothes are slung. At the far left is a wreathed boy wearing a himation (cloak). The shape of the vase facilitates the association of the scene with the Anthesteria, a three-day festival held in January/February that celebrated the new wine with the special inclusion of young children, an epiphany of Dionysos, and the ritual marriage of the god with the basilinna, the wife of the chief archon of Athens. While the precise meaning of the scene is not understood, it is evident that the Meidias Painter has melded significant features of the festival into a beautiful tableau.
Inscription: Inscribed: "Ganymede is fair"
Said to have been found in the vicinity of Athens

Before 1872, excavated in the vicinity of Athens; until 1873, with Professor Athanasios Sergiou Rhousopoulos, Athens; 1873, purchased by Samuel G. Ward from Prof. A.S. Rhousopoulos, Athens; acquired 1875, gift of Samuel G. Ward.
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Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1875. Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Association for the Year ending May 1, 1875. p. 70, New York.

Rayet, Olivier. 1888. Histoire de la céramique grecque. p. 250, fig. 94, Paris: G. Decaux.

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