Bronze hydria (water jar)

Period: Classical

Date: mid-5th century B.C.

Culture: Greek, Argive

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. with handle 20 1/4 in. (51.41 cm)

Classification: Bronzes

Credit Line: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1926

Accession Number: 26.50


This hydria, like Greek art in all its forms, is marked by clearly defined parts organized into a harmonious well-proportioned whole. The plain body swells gently to the shoulder zone, which turns inward with a soft, cushionlike curve. The shoulder is decorated with a simple shallow tongue pattern that echoes the vertical ribbing on the foot. The neck shoots up from the shoulder to a flaring mouth from which the bust of a woman seems to emerge. The figure belongs to the vertical handle of the hydria. She wears a peplos. Her serene face is framed by carefully detailed hair. Rotelles with a rosette pattern give a semblance of outstretched hands. We know from the inscription on the mouth that this hydria was a prize awarded at games for the goddess Hera at her sanctuary in Argos in the Peloponnisos.