Attic Red-Figure Psykter

Object Details

Title:

Attic Red-Figure Psykter

Artist/Maker:

Attributed to Smikros

Culture:

Greek (Attic)

Place:

Athens, Greece, Europe (Place created)

Date:

about 510 B.C.

Medium:

Terracotta

Dimensions:

33 × 25.5 cm (13 × 10 1/16 in.)

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The psykter is a vessel used for cooling wine at a symposium. Placed in a large bowl of ice-cold water, the bulbous upper section - decorated here with youths in the gymnasium - would be visible to drinkers. Many of the figures on this vase are identified with inscriptions. One nude youth ('Anbrosios') seen from behind scrapes his body with a strigil. To the right, a youth with his hair tied up in a bun folds a mantle ('Euythdikos'). Around the rest of the vase are four pairs of courting couples. One draped youth holding a hand to his head ('Melas') leans on his staff, looking at a heavily draped boy who walks to the right, holding a lyre and looking back ('Antias'). Another draped youth ('Euphronios') leans on his staff as he reaches for the chin of the boy facing him ('Leagros kalos'). A draped youth embraces another, fondling his genitals and about to kiss (both are un-named). The final pair features a lightly draped youth leaning on his staff ('Hegerthos kalos'), gesturing towards a boy wearing a purple mantle and with his hair in a bun ('Andriskos'). All of the figures are wreathed, save the two with their hair tied up. Many of the inscribed names recur on other contemporary vases, notably Leagros, who is often described as 'kalos' ('fine'). Yet Euphronios is the name of a vase-painter, and it is surprising to see a craftsman attempting to seduce one of the most sought-after noble youths in Athens. Scholars have suggested that this scene is a fantasy - perhaps humorous - on the part of the psykter's painter.

Provenance
by 1972 - 1982

Nicolas Koutoulakis, 1910 - 1996 (Geneva, Switzerland), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.

Exhibitions
Mostro sul ceramografo Euphronios (May 1 to October 1, 1990)
  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale Mecenate (Arezzo), May 1 to July 1, 1990
  • Musée du Louvre (Paris), August 1 to October 1, 1990
Athletes in Antiquity: Works from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 1 to April 15, 2002)
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City), February 1 to April 15, 2002
Bibliography

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Euphronios. Peintre a Athenes au VIe siecle avant J.-C. (1990), pp. 234-37, cat. no. 60, ill.

Capolavori di Euphronios. Exh. cat., Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Arezzo, May 26-July 31, 1990, pp. 192-93, no. 43.

Immerwahr, Henry. Attic Script: A Survey. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), p. 69, 73, no. 407.

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