Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta hydria: kalpis (water jar)

Attributed to the Berlin Painter
Late Archaic
ca. 490 B.C.
Greek, Attic
Terracotta; red-figure
H. 14 5/16 in. (36.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Whitridge Gift, 1965
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 157
Ajax and Achilles gaming

About 540 B.C. Exekias invented the representation of Achilles and Ajax passing the time during the siege of Troy by playing a board game. The original is preserved in the Vatican Museums. The subject remained popular into the fifth century B.C. The warriors are evenly matched. They hold their spears and shields as they play. The artist's concern seems less to characterize them than to dispose an interesting, symmetrical composition on the shoulder of the kalpis.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1965. "Greek and Roman Art." Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art), No. 1965/1975: p. 123.

Beazley, John D. 1971. Paralipomena: Additions to Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters and to Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters [2nd edition]. p. 343, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Moore, Mary B. 1980. "Exekias and Telamonian Ajax." American Journal of Archaeology, 84(4): p. 421 n. 33.

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. 1981. (Aara-Aphlad), Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 1. Achilleus, no. 425, Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

Cohen, Beth. 1991. "Perikles' Portrait and the Riace Bronzes: New Evidence for "Schinocephaly." Hesperia, 60(4): pp. 490–91 n. 113, pl. 123b.

Hedreen, Guy Michael. 2001. Capturing Troy: The Narrative Functions of Landscape in Archaic and Early Classical Greek Art. p. 102 n. 42, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Related Objects

Neck-amphora, fragmentary

Date: ca. 490–480 B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1973.212.4a–d On view in:Not on view

Terracotta Nolan neck-amphora (jar)

Date: ca. 470–465 B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 41.162.17 On view in:Not on view

Terracotta lekythos (oil flask)

Date: ca. 480 B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 41.162.7 On view in:Gallery 157

Stamnos fragments

Date: ca. 470 B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1986.99.5a, b On view in:Not on view

Terracotta Nolan neck-amphora (jar)

Date: ca. 490–480 B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 07.286.69 On view in:Gallery 157