Terracotta hydria: kalpis (water jar)

Attributed to the Niobid Painter

Period: Classical

Date: ca. 460–450 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; red-figure

Dimensions: H. 10 15/16 in. (27.7 cm); diameter 8 7/8 in. (22.6 cm); width with handles 10 15/16 in. (27.8 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1941

Accession Number: 41.162.98


The Niobid Painter ranks with the Villa Giulia Painter as one of the preeminent artists of the second quarter of the fifth century B.C. The Niobid Painter is remembered particularly for mythological representations on large pots. Here, on a smaller scale, he depicts Triptolemos being dispatched by the goddess Demeter, the patroness of fertility and agriculture, and her daughter, Persephone, to teach the cultivation of grain to humanity. The great attraction of this legend—to the artist and the viewer—lies in the winged car that transports Triptolemos. The model here comes "loaded" with snakes.