The J. Paul Getty Museum

Attic Black-Figure Amphora

Object Details


Attic Black-Figure Amphora


Attributed to Lydos or a painter close to Lydos (Greek (Attic), active about 565 - 535 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


550–540 B.C.



Object Number:



45.6 × 32.5 cm (17 15/16 × 12 13/16 in.)

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Object Description

The Minotaur, a monster with a bull's head and a human body, was the son of the Cretan queen and a bull for which she had developed an irresistible passion. The Minotaur lived in a labyrinth on Crete and devoured human sacrifices of youths and maidens sent as tribute from Athens. When the Greek hero Theseus finally killed the monster, he freed Athens from this horrible burden. The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur was very popular on Athenian vases in the late 500s B.C., possibly due to the Athenian connection with the myth. In this rendition, Theseus plunges his sword through the monster's neck while the freed youths and maidens watch. The youths are shown nude, in poses similar to those found on contemporary kouroi. In his depiction of the encounter, the artist stressed the Minotaur's bestial nature. The Minotaur's weapon is a rock, seen clutched in his hoof-like hand, whereas civilized Theseus fights with a sword. The back of the vase shows two youths mounted on horses, greeted by family members as they return home. Such a scene of returning youths and warriors was a frequent one in Athenian vase-painting. The youths may be mythological figures such as the Dioskouroi, or they may simply be mortals.

1962 - about 1983

Walter Bareiss, American, born Germany, 1919 - 2007 and Molly Bareiss, American, 1920 - 2006, distributed to the Walter Bareiss Children Usufruct, around 1983.

about 1983 - 1986

Walter Bareiss Children Usufruct, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.

Greek Vases and Modern Drawings from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Walter Bareiss (June 13 to October 5, 1969)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), June 13 to October 5, 1969
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Picasso and Rivera: Conversations across Time (December 4, 2016 to September 10, 2017)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), December 4, 2016 to May 7, 2017
  • Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), June 7 to September 10, 2017

Bothmer, Dietrich von. "Aspects of a Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27 (June 1969). pp. 424-436, p. 427; fig. 4.

Bothmer, Dietrich von, and J. Bean. Greek Vases and Modern Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bareiss. Exh. checklist, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: 1969, p. 2, no. 8.

Moore, Mary B. "Exekias and Telamonian Ajax." American Journal of Archaeology 84 (1980), pp. 417-434, p. 432, n. 125.

True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases: Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), p. 69, no. 25; p. 14, no. 5, fig. 5.

"Currrent Exhibitions," Archaeology 36, 3 (May/June 1983), p. 8.

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

Clark, Andrew J. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. The J. Paul Getty Museum 1 (USA 23). Malibu: 1988, pp. 1-3; pls. 1-2; 8,1-2.

Schreiber, Toby. Athenian Vase Construction: A Potter's Analysis (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999), pl. II.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 60.

Stansbury-O'Donnell, Mark D. Vase Painting, Gender and Socail Identity in Archaic Athens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 222. fig. 76.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 26, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 62.

Christidis, Maria. "Theseus, mehr als ein Nationalheld: zum kampanischen Lekanisdeckel der Universität Graz." Nikephoros: Zeitschrift für Sport und Kultur im Altertum 26 (2013), p. 9n11.

Magaloni, Diana, and Michael Govan, eds. Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with Delmonico Books, 2016), Pp. 124, fig.