Black-Figure Kyathos

Object Details


Black-Figure Kyathos


Attributed to near the Theseus Painter (Greek (Attic), active about 510 - about 490 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place created)


about 510 - 500 B.C.




14.7 × 7.9 × 11 cm (5 13/16 × 3 1/8 × 4 5/16 in.)

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The Greek hero Perseus pursues the monstrous gorgons around the sides of this Athenian black-figure kyathos. In Greek mythology, Perseus, trapped in a foolish boast, was compelled to obtain the head of the gorgon Medusa, whose gaze turned men to stone. Here Perseus, identified by his winged cap and boots, runs along with his sword drawn. The three gorgon sisters with their winged female bodies and horrifying faces are only slightly distinguished from one another in this unusual portrayal of the myth. Typically, Perseus sneaks up on the sleeping gorgons to behead Medusa, and then the two remaining sisters chase him.

A kyathos was a dipper used to ladle wine from large mixing vessels. The shape entered the Athenian pottery repertoire from Etruria, and Athenian artists may have decorated these foreign shapes primarily for export back to Etruria. In fact, this depiction of the Perseus story draws heavily on Etruscan versions. On this kyathos, as on many of the time, the black-figure decoration was not applied on the natural reddish clay of the vessel but on a specially prepared white slip.

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) (30)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), June 13 to October 5, 1969

Schauenburg, Konrad. "Zu 'Irrtuemern' in der griechischen und etruskischen Vasenmalerei." Festchrift Gottfried von Luecken (1968). pp. 765-768, p. 767; pls. 45-46.

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. 30.

Schauenburg, Konrad. "Zu griechischen Mythen in der etruskischen Kunst." Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 85 (1970), p. 42.

Eisman, Michael. "Attic Kyathos Painters." Ph.D. diss. (University of Pennsylvania, 1971), pp. 477-81, no. 135; pl. 34.

Brommer, Frank. Vasenlisten zur griechischen Heldensage. 3rd ed. (Marburg: 1973), p. 280, after no. 41(mistakenly listed as a hydria).

Mertens, Joan R. Attic White-Ground: Its Development on Shapes other than Lekythoi. New York: 1977, pp. 84, 86, no. 27.

True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases: Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), pp. 28-29, no. 16, fig. 16; p. 74, no. 79.

"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 2 (USA 25). The Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection. Malibu: 1990, pp. 28-30; pl. 76.

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

Borgers, Olaf.The Theseus Painter: Style, Shapes and Iconography. Vol. 16, (Amsterdam : Allard Pierson Series, 2004), pp. 59-60, 72, 96.