Bronze hydria (water jar)

Period: Classical

Date: 4th century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. 19 3/4 in. (50.2 cm)

Classification: Bronzes

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1944

Accession Number: 44.11.9


The elegant ovoid shape of this vase and the inclusion of a figural relief under the vertical handle are found on most bronze hydriae of the fourth century B.C. Here the decoration is particularly refined. Inlays of silver and niello (a black alloy of sulfur, silver, copper, and lead) animated the egg-and-dart band on the lip and the leaves on the foot. The relief shows a winged Eros arranging his hair in a mirror. He leans on a small statue of a woman. It imitates the rigid stance and stiff drapery found on Archaic figures of the sixth century B.C. The support forms an interesting contrast to the figure of Eros, which reflects the taste for somewhat effeminate male figures in curvacious, languid poses that marked full-scale sculpture of the period.