The J. Paul Getty Museum

Attic Black-Figure Neck-Amphora

Object Details


Attic Black-Figure Neck-Amphora


Attributed to Bareiss Painter, Medea Group (Greek (Attic), active late 6th century B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


530–520 B.C.



Object Number:



32.9 × 21.9 cm (12 15/16 × 8 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

The apotheosis of Herakles decorates the front of this Athenian black-figure amphora. Identified by his attributes of club and lionskin, Herakles waits while the goddess Athena, his protective deity, mounts the chariot that will drive him to the home of the gods on Mount Olympos. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, stands behind the horses' heads preparing to lead the chariot. The back of the vase shows a battle scene in which a hoplite, or heavily armed infantryman, falls to the ground between two cavalrymen. 

Herakles being escorted to Olympos in a chariot was an especially popular subject in Athenian art in the late 500s B.C. Some scholars have suggested that the image's popularity was politically motivated: the tyrants of Athens in this period, Peisistratos and his sons, had adopted Herakles as their symbol. An account of Peisistratos's return from exile, in fact, describes how he had a woman dressed as Athena ride in the chariot with him. This vase was broken and extensively repaired in antiquity. One handle was reattached with staples, and the mouth of the amphora was replaced with one taken from another similar vessel. The substitute mouth appears to be at least twenty years later than the original, indicating that the vase had been used for some time before it was damaged.

1964 - 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.

1983 - 1986

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

Weltkunst aus Privatbesitz (May 18 to August 4, 1968)
  • Kunsthalle Köln (Cologne), May 18 to August 4, 1968
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
Fragment to Vase: Approaches to Ceramic Restoration (December 18, 2008 to June 1, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), December 18, 2008 to June 1, 2009

May, Helmut, ed. Weltkunst aus Privatbesitz, exh. cat. (Cologne: Druckerei J. P. Bachem, 1968), cat. no. A 25.

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. 3, no. 22.

Bothmer, Dietrich von, and Mary B. Moore. "A Neck-amphora in the Collection of Walter Bareiss." American Journal of Archaeology 76 (1972), pp. 1-11, pl. 1, figs. 1-2; pl. 6, figs. 17-23.

Brommer, Frank. Vasenlisten zur griechischen Heldensage. 3rd ed. (Marburg: N. G. Elwert Verlag, 1973), p. 162, no. 4.

Kunze-Goette, Erika. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Museum Antiker Kleinkunst, Munich 8 (Germany 37). Munich 1973, p. 18.

Bohr, Elke. Der Schaukelmaler. (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1982), pp. 28; 65, n. 223; 72, n. 480; 128.

True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases: Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), pp. 20-21, no. 10, fig. 10; p. 71, no. 47.

"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. 26-28; pls. 27-29.

Noble, Joseph V. The Techniques of Attic Painted Pottery, rev. ed. London: 1988, color pl. XII (sdie A).

Elston, Maya. "Ancient Repairs of Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 18 (1990), pp. 53-68, pp. 61n19, 63n23; figs. 19, 24.

Boardman, John, et al. "Herakles." In Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae V (1990), pp. 1-192, p. 127, no. 2891.

Tsiafakis, Despoina. "The Allure and Repulsion of Thracians in the Art of Classical Athens." Not the Classical Ideal. Athens and the Construction of the Other in Greek Art. Leiden: Brill, 2000. pp. 364-389, p. 371; fig. 14.3.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 61.

Bentz, Martin, Geominy, Wilfred and Mueller, Jan Marius (eds.) Tonart: Virtuosität antiker Töpfertechnik. Petersburg: Verlag, Michael Imhof, 2010, 106, fig. 26 (detail of neck).

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 63.

Tsiafakis, Despoina. "Thracian Tattoos." In Bodies in Transition: Dissolving the Boundaries of Embodied Knowledge, Dietrich Boschung, Alan Shapiro, and Frank Wascheck, eds. (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink, 2015), p. 93n12.