Apulian Red-Figure Loutrophoros

Object Details


Apulian Red-Figure Loutrophoros


Attributed to the Painter of Louvre MNB 1148 (Greek (Apulian), active 350 - 330 B.C.)


South Italian (Apulian)


Apulia, South Italy (Place created)


about 330 B.C.




98 × 37 cm (38 9/16 × 14 9/16 in.)

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The excessive mourning of the mythological figure Niobe decorates this Apulian red-figure loutrophoros. Niobe's foolish boasting led to the slaughter of her fourteen children by the gods Apollo and Artemis. For nine days and nights, she mourned, ignoring family members' attempts to comfort her. Finally, Zeus took pity on Niobe's grief and turned her to stone. On this vase, Niobe stands in a funerary naiskos surrounded by four attendants holding grave offerings. Her brother Pelops drives up in his chariot with his bride Hippodameia to urge her to stop grieving. By painting the lower part of her dress white, the painter indicated Niobe slowly turning to stone from the feet up. The back of the vase also depicts a funerary naiskos flanked by attendants and containing a large funerary lekythos. Both the structure and the vessel are painted white to represent stone.

Loutrophoroi, made of both terracotta and marble, were placed as markers on the graves of the unwed. In the scene on the front, two loutrophoroi flank Niobe. The one on the right with figural decoration is the same form as this vase. As these painted depictions show, this terracotta loutrophoros would originally have been placed on a stand.

- 1982

Royal Athena Galleries (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.


Trendall, Arthur Dale, and Alexander Cambitoglou. First Supplement to The Red-figured Vases of Apulia (Supplement to the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London, 42). London: 1983. p. 100, no. 20/278a.

Trendall, A. D. "An Apulian Loutrophoros Representing the Tantalidae," Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 2. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 3 (1985), pp. 129-144. figs. 1-4, 8-9, 13-15.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986) p. 52.

Pipili, Maria. "Hippodameia I," Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae V (1990), pp. 434-440. p. 439, no. 39; pl. 314.

Schmidt, Margot. "Lydische Harmonie," EYMOYSIA. Ceramic and Iconographic Studies in Honour of Alexander Cambitoglou. Sydney: 1990. pp. 221-226. p. 225.

Stewart, Andrew. Greek Sculpture: An Exploration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990) p. 196; fig. 600.

Jentoft-Nilsen, Marit R., and Arthur Dale Trendall. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. The J. Paul Getty Museum 4 (USA 27). Malibu: 1991. pp. 3-6; fig. 2; pls. 183-185; 189, 2.

Schmidt, Margot. "Niobe," Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VI (1992), pp. 908-914. p. 912, no. 18; pl. 611.

E.N. Khodza. "A Terracotta Bust from Panticapaeum." In Northern Pontic Antiquities in the State Hermitage Museum. John Boardman, Sergei L. Solovyov, and Gocha Tsetskhladze, eds. (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2001) p. 218, fig 12.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 125.

Frontisi-Ducroux, Francoise. L'homme-cerf et la femme-araignee: Figures grecques de la metamorphose (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 2003) fig. VIII, pp. 195-97, fig. 45.

Todisco, Luigi. La Ceramica Figurata a Soggetto Tragico in Magna Grecia e in Sicilia. (Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider Editore, 2003) p. 113, 119, 253, 260, 479 (Ap 211).

Buxton, Richard. Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) pp. 97-98, fig. 35.

Denoyelle, Martine and Iozzo, Mario. La Céramique Grecque d'Italie méridionale et de Sicile (Paris: Éditions A. et J. Picard, 2009). p. 145, fig. 212.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010) p. 120.

Hildebrandt, Frank. "Epoiesen kai Egrapsen - er hat es geschaffen und er hat es bemalt." In Kerameia. Ein Meisterwerk Apulischer Töpferkunst. Studien dem Andenken Konrad Schauenburgs Gewidmet. Konrad Hitzl, ed. (Kiel: Antikensammlung, 2011). p. 83, 91

Hurschmann, Rolf. "Der Maler der Kieler Loutrophoros." In Kerameia. Ein Meisterwerk Apulischer Töpferkunst. Studien dem Andenken Konrad Schauenburgs Gewidmet. Konrad Hitzl, ed. (Kiel: Antikensammlung, 2011). p. 132, 134-135, figs. 46-49, 136, 139.

Fracchia, Helena. "Changing Contexts and Intent: The Mourning Niobe Motif from Lucania to Daunia." In Red-Figure Pottery in its Ancient Setting. Stine Schierup and Bodil Bundgaard Rasmussen, eds. (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2012). p. 78, fig. 6.