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Four white lekythoi in the National Museum of Athens1

  • Chrysoula P. Kardara

Extract

The two white lekythoi illustrated in Plate 40 a–b and Figs. 1–2 were found together in a basement of the National Museum in Athens. The provenience is unknown. They are restored, and have necks, mouths, and handles belonging to other lekythoi. The height of the ancient parts is 0·33 m. The outlines of the drawing are a mixture of matt red and brown; the added colours are mauve, green, and light brown. No vent-hole is visible in either of them.

The subject of the composition on no. 19272 (Plate 40 a and Fig. 1) is a visit to the grave. There is a grave stele in the middle, projecting on to the shoulder of the vase; it rests on a step and has three shafts, one rising from the other. The lowest shaft is the broadest, the middle one the highest. The two lower shafts are crowned by a plinth. From each plinth two tiers of acanthus leaves rise, in outline, or painted mauve, green, or light brown. These enrich the stele, diminish the excessive elevation, and add balance. From the lowest leaves of the upper acanthus group two woollen sashes hang, the left-hand one green, the other mauve. A third sash, green, hangs from the upper border band to left of the stele. Behind the stele, a trapeza, resting on a couple of steps, gives more stability to the general aspect of the monument.

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2 They probably come from confiscation.

3 For stelai towering over the shoulder of the vase compare the following white lekythoi: Athens 1825 (Riezler pl. 11; ARV 466, 12); Brussels A 1022 (CV Jb, pl. 2, 2; ARV 829, 12); Athens 1936 (Riezler pl. 77; CV Jd, pl. 11, 6 and pl. 13, 1–3; ARV 816, 44); Copenhagen 7090 (CV iii J, pl. 171, ib). Cf. also the marble lekythos in the Piraeus Museum: E 77, AE 1953–4, 237 ff., pl. 1.

4 A stele consisting of three shafts occurs on the following white lekythoi: Toronto 381 (Robinson, and Harcum, , Catalogue of Vases in the Royal Ontario Museum pl. 66); Copenhagen 7090 (CV iii J, pl. 171, b (with four acanthus groups)); Berkeley, University of California 8/3310 (CV pl. 62, 1d). A grave stele consisting of two shafts: Athens 1936 (Riezler pl. 77 and p. 3, 3; CV Jd, pl. 11, 6 and pl. 13, 1–3; ARV 816, 44); Athens (photograph of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens, varia 602). A stele consisting of four shafts occurs on the white lekythos in Mannheim, CV pl. 35, 1–3, pl. 36, 5 and p. 45, fig. 14 (with four acanthus groups).

5 For similar examples of trapezai cf. Karouzou, in ADelt viii (1923) 122, fig. 2.

6 The many figures of travellers on white lekythoi, as a rule, either wear a petasos or are bareheaded. It is only after 430 B.C. that the pilos becomes a regular attribute of the traveller on white lekythoi. A few examples: Oxford 546 (JHS xxv ( 1905) 74 f.; ARV 815, 21; by the Quadrate Painter); New York 06.1021.133 (Fairbanks ii, pl. 11, 2; ARV 815, 23; by the Quadrate Painter); Cambridge 141 (CV pl. 31, 5 and p. 33; ARV 829, 20; by the Triglyph Painter); Warsaw (ex Czartoryski 179; CV pl. 44, 2; ARV 829, 7; by the Triglyph Painter); once Athens, Fauvel (Stackelberg, , Gräber der Hellenen pl. 46, 1; ARV 815, 20; by the Quadrate Painter); Athens 1796 (Dumont, and Chaplain, , Les Céramiques de la Grèce Propre pl. 29; Heinemann, , Thanatos pl. 10; ARV 829, 6; by the Triglyph Painter).

It must here be pointed out that this type of hat is sometimes called a ‘helmet’ (Lullies, , Eine Sammlung griechischer Kleinkunst 37, no. 82, pl. 43) and the traveller who wears it is called a warrior. However, it is the same kind of hat as that worn by Hermes (Athens 1940: AJA xi (1907) 27; Riezler pl. 47; ARV 659, 7; by the Phiale Painter. Munich 2797: Buschor, , Attische Lekythen der Parthenonzeit pl. 1,2 and pl. 2; Beazley and Ashmole, Greek Sculpture and Painting fig. 112; Beazley, , Attic White Lekythoi pl. 1, 2; Buschor, , Grab eines Mädchens 12 f.; ARV 658, 101; by the Phiale Painter); here a helmet is not expected. This hat, often worn by youths carrying a spear or two spears, or by Hermes himself, should be thought of as an alternative to the petasos. Nevertheless we do have metal helmets in the form of a pilos (Rumpf, , Abhandl. preuβ. Akad. viii (1943) 3 f.); and such a helmet occurs on a white lekythos (Athens 1761: Fairbanks i, pl. 9, 2; Riezler pl. 31; ARV 808, 13; by the Thanatos Painter), where it is worn by a warrior. However, on two other white lekythoi (Athens 2011: Dumont and Chaplain, op. cit. pl. 36; CV Jd, pl. 14, 4; ARV 827, 95; by the Reed Painter; and Louvre S 1161: Mon. Gr. 1882–4, pl. 3; Riezler pl. 96; ARV 827, 107; by the Reed Painter) the hat worn by the warriors seems to be made of the same soft material as that held by the warrior of the Cairness relief (Diepolder, Die attischen Grabreliefs fig. 3; JHS xlix (1929) 2 f., figs. 1–2; now in Worcester, Massachusetts); where, as Sir John Beazley pointed out, ‘the hand sinks into the hat and presses it out of shape’. In red-figure vase-painting piloi are often worn by male persons—mostly legendary, but also workmen or travellers, as well as warriors.

7 The upper part of the youth in Athens 19273 reminds one of the middle figure in Athens 1816 (ARV 828, 15, by the Master of group R), Louvre CA 536 (ARV 828, 10, by the same master), Athens 12483 (ARV 824, 16, by the Reed Painter), Athens 1767 (ARV 823–7 and 965, 28, by the Reed Painter), Louvre S 1161 (ARV 827, 107, by the Reed Painter), Louvre MNB 616 (ARV 825, 38, by the Reed Painter), Cambridge 141 (ARV 829, 20, by the Triglyph Painter), Lugano, von Schoen (Lullies, op. cit. pl. 43, no. 82; ARV 830, 26; by the Triglyph Painter); also Athens (photograph of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens, varia 968). The attitude of the whole figure is repeated, somewhat altered, in Heidelberg L 40 (Herbig, Ganymed 14, fig. 7), New York 09.221.44 (ARV 782, 71), Heidelberg L 43 (Herbig, op. cit. 15, fig. 9), Leningrad 2665 (AM li (1926) pl. 6).

8 Louvre MNB 613 (Fairbanks ii, pl. 23, 1); British Museum D 74 (Fairbanks, op. cit. pl. 23, 2); Athens 14522 (ADelt 1923, 141, fig. 11); Leningrad 2665 (AM 1926, pl. 6).

9 Toronto 181 (Robinson and Harcum, op. cit. pl. 66); Athens 15070 (ARV 826, 92).

10 Boston 00.359 (Fairbanks i, pl. 12; Riezler, 22, 2 and 23, 2; Caskey and Beazley i, pl. 28, 60 and fig. 37; Swindler, Ancient Painting figs. 334–5; ARV 809, 17).

11 Athens 1761 (Fairbanks i, pl. 9, 2; AJA 1907, 25 f.; Riezler pl. 31; ARV 808, 13).

12 Athens 1911 (Fairbanks ii, class XIII, 18; ARV 824, 18).

13 Athens 2008 (ARV 824, 17).

14 Louvre MNB 616 (Fairbanks ii, pl. 22, 2; ARV 825, 38); Athens, market (photograph of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens, varia 672).

15 Athens 1759 (Fairbanks ii, pl. 24, 1; ADelt 1923, 120, 1 and 123, 3; CV Jd, pl. 15, 7–8; ARV 823, 1).

16 Fairbanks ii. 235.

17 Kern, , Orphicorum Fragmenta 104 f. The gold foil from Thurii is dated to the end of the fourth century B.C.

18 Marines, K., Ἀντίλαλοι ἀπò τò χωριό μας (1929) 133.

19 (According to Sir John Beazley.) For his work cf. Papaspyridi-Karouzou, S., ADelt 1923, 117 ff.; Buschor, , Attische Lekythen 20; Poulson, V. H., From Ny Carlsberg i. 189 ff.; Beazley, , Attic White Lekythoi 24; ARV 823–7.

20 Herbig, op. cit. 10 ff., fig. 1.

21 Louvre MNB 616 (Fairbanks ii, pl. 22, 2; ARV 825, 38).

22 Brussels A124 (CV Jb, pl. 2, 1a–b; ARV 827, 96).

23 Athens 2011 (Dumont and Chaplain, op. cit. pl. 36; ADelt 1923, 124, 1; CV Jd, pl. 14, 4–6; ARV 827, 95).

24 ARV 827 f.

25 Technau, , Die klassische Figur 68 ff.

26 RM xlvii (1932) 23 ff.

27 Relief of the Treasurers, Louvre: Binnebössel, Urkunde-Reliefs no. 14; AM xxxv (1910) pl. 4, 2; RM 1932, pl. 10, 3; Süsserott, , Griechische Plastik des IV Jahrhunderts pl. 1, 1 (he dates it 409/8, instead of 410/9 as previous writers had done, and gives his reasons (p. 28, n. 5)).

28 RM 1932, 43, pl. n, 1.

29 Herbig, op. cit. 13 f., dates it in the years 420 to 410; Neutsch, , Die Welt der Griechen 58, figs. 43–44, dates the same vase in the middle of the fifth century, which is surely far too early.

30 Reserved palmettes on stelai occur on the following white lekythoi: Athens 1958 (AJA 1907, 21; Fairbanks i. 203; Riezler pl. 17; CV Jc, pl. 6, 3–5; ARV 467, 2; by the Inscription Painter); Athens 1959 (AJA 1907, 22; Riezler pl. 16; Pfuhl, MuZ fig. 532; CV Jc, pl. 6, 6–7; ARV 467, 3; by the Inscription Painter); New York (ex Gallatin) (CV Gallatin, pl. 27, 7, 9; ARV 468, 8; by the Inscription Painter); Athens 1935 (JHS 1899 pl. 2; ÖJh 1907, 119; Riezler pl. 23; Pfuhl, op. cit. fig. 534; Swindler, op. cit. pl. 133d; Attic White Lekythoi pl. 4, 1; ARV 807, 1; by the Bosanquet Painter); Athens 15070 (ARV 826, 92; ADelt 1923, 122, fig. 2, ξ by the Reed Painter); once Athens, Fauvel (Stackelberg, , Gräber der Hellenen pl. 44, 1; mentioned in Fairbanks ii. 182, 43). On Athens 16461, however, the reserved palmette is combined with acanthus leaves. A similar combination occurs on a white lekythos once in Athens (Fauvel Collection: Stackelberg, op. cit. pl. 44, 2; mentioned in Fairbanks ii. 186, 54). For a similar combination of palmettes (not reserved) and acanthus leaves in the work of the Triglyph Painter cf. the lekythoi Berlin 2680 (AZ 1885, pl. 3; ARV 828, 1) and Athens 2038 (Benndorf, , Griechische und sicilische Vasenbilder pl. 22, 2; ARV 829, 24).

31 For the friendly greeting cf. Himmelmann-Wildschütz, , Studien zum Ilissos-Relief 12, n. 7.

32 For the work of this painter cf. Buschor, Attische Lekythen 19 f.; ARV 828–30.

33 The shape of these lekythoi shows a slender body, sloping shoulder, and high neck. Similar examples are mostly attributed to the Triglyph Painter: Switzerland, private (Bloesch, , Antike Kunst in der Schweitz 76 ff., pl. 43); Lugano, von Schoen (Lullies, op. cit. pl. 43; ARV 830, 26); Brussels A 1022 (Furtwängler, Coll. Somzée pl. 39, iii = Vente Somzée pl. 5, 102; CV Jb, pl. 2, 2; ARV 829, 12); Athens 1796 (Dumont and Chaplain, op. cit. pl. 29; Heinemann, op. cit. pl. 10; ARV 829, 6); Athens 1908 (AE 1906, 16; ARV 829, 16). It also occurs on the following white lekythoi in Athens, not in ARV: Athens 1764, 1832, 1855.

34 Cambridge G 141 (CV pl. 31, 5 and p. 33; ARV 829, 20).

35 Athens 1756 (Dumont and Chaplain, op. cit. pl. 32; Heydemann, , Griechische Vasenbilder pl. 12, 11; ARV 829, 4); Athens 1877 (ARV 830, 36).

36 Athens, private coll. (Benndorf, op. cit. pl. 15; ARV 829, 9); Athens 1755 (Dumont and Chaplain, op. cit. pl. 24; ARV 829, 14); Warsaw (ex Czartoryski; CV pl. 44, 2; ARV 829, 7).

37 For two subjects intersecting in one figure cf. Attic White Lekythoi 10.

38 Athens 2005 (ARV 825, 60 (for the right-hand figure)); Athens 2009 (ADelt 1923, 140, 1 and 127, 3; CV Jd, pl. 15, 1–2; ARV 824, 33 (for the left-hand figure)).

39 Attic White Lekythoi 15, 26.

40 Himmelmann-Wildschütz, op. cit. 12, n. 9a.

41 Oxford 1947. 24 (Annali 1842, pl. L[o]; JHS 1946, 11 f., pl. 4; ARV 644, 163; dated 440–430 B.C.).

42 For literature and art cf. Webster, Greek Art and Literature c. vi.

43 On the sensitiveness of the Master of group R, and the introversion of his figures, cf. Webster, ibid. 198. Rumpf (AJA 1951, 7 and Handbuch der Archäologie iv. 116) sees the works of the Master of group R as good illustrations of the discussion between Sokrates and Parrhasios; on Parrhasios and the Master of group R cf. Karouzou, , AuA 1956, 73, n. 14.

44 Attic White Lekythoi 26.

45 Plato, , Theaetetus 144b.

1 I am deeply grateful to Sir John Beazley for reading the manuscript and for his criticism. To the British Council I am grateful for the scholarship which enabled me to finish this article in Oxford. To Mrs. Karouzou I am indebted for permission to publish the lekythoi, to Mr. Zapheiropoulos for discussing aspects of this article in its early stage, and to Mr. Hermann for permission to consult the Photographic Department of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens.

Four white lekythoi in the National Museum of Athens1

  • Chrysoula P. Kardara

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