Chalcidian Eye Cup

Object Details


Chalcidian Eye Cup


Attributed to Phineus Painter (Greek (Chalcidian), active about 530 - 510 B.C.)


Greek (Chalcidian)


perhaps Rhegion, Southern Italy (Place created)


about 520 B.C.




10.6 × 35.1 × 26 cm (4 3/16 × 13 13/16 × 10 1/4 in.)

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Eyes, ears and a nose forming a face decorate each side of this Greek cup. The cup itself has a distinctive form with a deep bowl, a large foot with a tall, concave profile, and a thick ring joining the foot and the bowl. Scholars refer to cups with this combination of form and decoration as Chalcidian cups. The strikingly angular form of the foot has led some scholars to believe that the shape of the cup may have been derived from metal prototypes. Eyes decorate the exterior of all Chalcidian cups. In Greek thought, large, staring eyes had an apotropaic power, that is, they had the ability to ward off evil and danger. The painted eyes on this cup may have protected the drinker, or the frontal face may have represented an abbreviated mask connected with Dionysos, the god of wine.

Scholars do not know precisely where Chalcidian pottery was made. Inscriptions on some vases have letters in the alphabet of the city of Chalkis in Greece, but no vases have been found there, or anywhere outside Italy and the western Mediterranean. The vases were probably made in a Chalcidian colony in southern Italy or in an immigrant workshop in Etruria.

1960 - 1983

Walter Bareiss, American, born Germany, 1919 - 2007


and Molly Bareiss, American, 1920 - 2006 (Stamford, Connecticut), distributed to the Mary S. Bareiss 1983 Trust, 1983.


Mary S. Bareiss 1983 Trust, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.


True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases: Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), p. 68, no. 15; p. 12, no. 3, ill.

Pinney, G. "Eye-Cup," Revue archeologique, 1986,1, pp. 5-20, p. 14,15, ill. fig. 10.

Ferrari, Gloria. "Eye-Cup." Revue Archéologique 1 (1986), pp. 14-5, fig. 10.

"Acquisitions/1986." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 15 (1987), pp. 160-61, no. 7.

Iozzo, Mario. Ceramica "calcidese." Nuovi documenti e problemi riproposti (unpublished Ph.D. diss.), Universita Toscane Consorziate di Firenze. Siena and Pisa: 1987-1988, p. 66, pls. LXXXIX-XCI.

Keck, J. Studien zur Rezeption fremder Einfluesse in der chalkidischen Keramik. Ein Betrag zur Lokalisierungsfrage. Archaeologische Studien 8. Frankfurt: 1988, p. 255, no. A-S 1, pl. 18.

Jentoft-Nilsen, Marit R., and Arthur Dale Trendall. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. The J. Paul Getty Museum 5 (USA 30) (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), pp. 13-14; pl. 260.