Terracotta bell-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water)
Attributed to the Painter of London E 497
ca. 440 B.C.
H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
diameter of mouth 12 13/16 in. (32.6 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1924
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 159
Obverse, Orpheus among the Thracians Reverse, libation scene
Orpheus, the best known of the mythical musicians, is associated with Thrace in the northernmost part of Greece. After he had descended into the underworld to find his beloved wife, Eurydice, and had lost her, he withdrew into solitude. Feeling rebuffed, Thracian women set upon Orpheus and killed him. Here he is shown seated on a rock formation and engrossed in his music. The central figure, wearing typical Thracian dress, identifies the setting, while the woman who holds a sickle in her left hand foreshadows Orpheus's fate.
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Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1994. Oidipous-Theseus, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 7. Orpheus, no. 26, Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.
Bundrick, Sheramy. 2005. Music and Image in Fifth-century Athens. fig. 76, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.