Attic Black-Figure Neck Amphora

Object Details


Attic Black-Figure Neck Amphora


Attributed to Group E (Workshop of Exekias) (Greek (Attic), active 560 - 540 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place created)


about 550 B.C.




35.4 × 28.1 cm (13 15/16 × 11 1/16 in.)

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Scenes of combat decorate this Athenian black-figure neck-amphora. On the front of the vase, the Greek hero Theseus battles the Minotaur. The Minotaur, a monster with a bull's head and a human body, lived in a labyrinth on the island of Crete and devoured human sacrifices sent as tribute from Athens. The hero has just stabbed the beast with his sword, and blood streams from the wound. A youth and a girl--representatives of the fourteen youths and maidens saved from sacrifice by Theseus's victory over the monster-stand at each side watching.

The heroic combat on the front is balanced by a scene of mortal warriors on the back of the vase. Two hoplites, or heavily armed soldiers, face off with spears raised, between onlookers. The woman holds a wreath for the victor.

by 1971 - still in 1975

Private Collection (Lugano, Switzerland)

- 1985

Holger Termer (Frankfurt, Germany), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.


Beazley, J. D. Paralipomena. Additions to Attic Black-figure Vase-painters and to Attic Red-figure Vase-painters. 2nd ed. Oxford: 1971, p. 57, no. 63bis.

Patitucci, Uggeri S. "Una nuova anfora del Gruppe E in una collezione ticinese," Numismatica e Antichita Classiche 4 (1975), pp. 55-72, p. 59; fig. 1.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), p. 189, no. 32.

Woodford, Susan. "Kerkopes." In Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VI (1992), pp. 32-35, p. 575, no. 10; pl. 317.

Sacks, David. Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World (New York: Facts on File, 2005), p. 346, ill.

Mommsen, Heidi. "Die Botkin-Klasse." In Shapes and Uses of Greek Vases. Athena Tsingarida, ed. (Bruxelles: CReA-Patrimoine, 2009), 31-46, p. 37, plate 3.6.

Oakley, John H. The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013), back cover, pp. 70-72, fig. 9.