Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Attributed to the Metope Painter
Late Classical
3rd quarter of the 4th century B.C.
Greek, South Italian, Apulian
Terracotta; red-figure
34 3/4 in. (88.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Bernard and Audrey Aronson Charitable Trust Gift, in memory of her beloved husband, Bernard Aronson, 1995
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 160
On the body, obverse, woman with attendant in naiskos (shrine) flanked by youth and women
Reverse, woman in naiskos flanked by youths and women
On the shoulder, obverse, Eros with alabastron and mirror within foliage
Reverse, head of a woman within foliage

This imposing and beautifully executed vase, together with its counterpart exhibited here, is of exceptional interest for the architectural structure on the obverse. A small naiskos, rendered with three columns, encloses a woman, her maid who holds out a small casket, and a metal loutrophoros. Between the level on which they stand and the podium for the shrine are two panels with a pair of confronted lions. The podium itself consists of an upper frieze of triglyphs, alternating with metopes showing Greeks fighting Amazons. The lower element is covered with tendrils enclosing a female head. Although naiskoi are common on Apulian vases, the complexity and elaboration here are unusual. The unresolved question is to what extent the representation reflects actual funerary structures and the limestone reliefs
familiar especially from Tarentum.
#1087. Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)
: / 
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Trendall, Arthur Dale and Alexander Cambitoglou. 1983. First Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia. pp. 70–72, pl. 9, London: Institute Of Classical Studies.

Trendall, Arthur Dale. 1989. Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily. p. 85, fig. 181, New York: Thames and Hudson Inc.

Sotheby's, New York. 1994. Important Classical, Egyptian, and Western Asiatic Antiquities and Islamic Works of Art. December 14, 1994. lot 97.

Mertens, Joan R., Dr. 1995. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1994-1995." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 53(2): p. 12.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1995. "One Hundred Twenty-fifth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1994 through June 30, 1995." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 125: p. 16.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 169, pp. 150, 436–37, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Marconi, Clemente. 2011. "The birth of an image: The painting of a statue of Herakles and theories of representation in ancient Greek culture." Res: Anthopology and Aesthetics, 59/60: p. 165, fig. 18.

Heuer, Keely Elizabeth. 2015. "Vases with Faces: Isolated Heads in South Italian Vase Painting." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 50: p. 68, fig.11a, b.

Galitz, Kathryn. 2016. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. no. 21, p. 28, New York: Skira.

Related Objects

Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Date: 3rd quarter of the 4th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1995.45.2 On view in:Gallery 160

Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Date: late 6th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 27.228 On view in:On view

Terracotta cosmetic vase

Date: 4th quarter of the 6th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1977.11.3 On view in:Gallery 152

Terracotta askos in the form of a boar

Date: 4th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 41.162.46 On view in:Gallery 161