Attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter
Terracotta; H. 2 7/16 in. (6.2 cm)
The Bothmer Purchase Fund, Fletcher Fund, and Rogers Fund, 1979 (1979.11.15)
On this red-figure and white-ground kylix (drinking cup), a goddessidentifiable by her scepterstands by an Ionic altar to pour a libation from a phiale, a shallow bowl specifically designed for pouring liquid offerings. She wears a long chiton of very thin fabric as is evident from its multiple folds. Her hair has been gathered up in a bun at the back of her head. The bracelets and necklace that she wears, the fillet in her hair, the ends of her scepter, and her libation bowl are rendered in added clay and were originally gilded. Like other cups of high quality with representations of deities on a white ground, this piece may have been specially commissioned for dedication at a sanctuary.
The interior of the cup was covered with a white slip that gives even greater resonance to the painter's exquisite use of line and color than does the usual orange background on red-figure vases. The addition of a thin layer of very fine white clay to the surface of a vase was practiced in Athens from the late seventh century B.C. onward, enjoying a period of particular favor from the second quarter to the end of the fifth century B.C. This cup is attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter, a preeminent artist of that period. He is named after a major collection of antiquities in Rome, and is known for his elegant, statuesque figures.