The J. Paul Getty Museum

Red-Figure Kalpis

Object Details


Red-Figure Kalpis


Group of the Floral Nolans (Greek (Attic), active about 470 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


480–470 B.C.



Object Number:



36 × 29.6 cm (14 3/16 × 11 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

The owl was the symbol of the city of Athens. On this red-figure kalpis, an owl stands framed by olive branches, each bearing one fruit. This decoration is unusual for a kalpis, yet the image would have been familiar to any Athenian because the owl, shown with one olive branch, had been on the obverse, or front side, of Athenian coins since the late 600s B.C. The owl between olive branches subsequently became a popular motif on skyphoi or cups in Athens in the period around 475 to 425 B.C.

Greeks used the kalpis, a variant form of hydria, for carrying water. The three handles of a hydria were designed to facilitate pouring and lifting. Most vase-painters working in the red-figure technique preferred the rounded form of the kalpis.

1963 - 1983

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

1983 - 1986

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

Griechische Plastik: Vasen und Kleinkunst: Leihgaben aus Privatbesitz (May 27 to September 27, 1964)
  • Staatliche Museen (Kassel), May 27 to September 27, 1964
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
The Berlin Painter and his World: Athenian-Vase Painting in the Early Fifth Century B.C. (March 4 to October 1, 2017)
  • Princeton University Art Museum (Princeton), March 4 to June 11, 2017
  • Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo), July 8 to October 1, 2017

Lullies, Reinhard. Griechische Plastik, Vasen und Kleinkunst: Leihgaben aus Privatbesitz, exh. cat. (Kassel, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, 1964), no. 57, pl. 57, ill.

"Art Across the U.S.A.: Outstanding Exhibitions." Apollo 90 (October 1969), p. 346.

Bothmer, Dietrich von, and J. Bean. Greek Vases and Modern Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bareiss. Exh. checklist. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969), p. 5, no. 56; ill., front cover..

True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases: Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), pp. 38-39, no. 25, colorplate 9; p. 76, no. 115.

Schauenburg, Konrad. "Herakles und Eulen auf einem Krater der Sammlung Geddes." Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts, Roemische Abteilung 92 (1985), pp. 45-64, p. 54 and n. 74 (as Bareiss 25).

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

Neer, Richard T. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. The J. Paul Getty Museum 7 (USA 32). Malibu: 1997, pp. 29-31, no. 29; fig. 9; pls. 352-353; and 356, 3-4.

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

Kreuzer, Bettina. "Eulen aus Athen: 520-480 v. Chr." in Carina Weiss and Erika Simon (eds.), Ruth Linder. Folia in Memoriam Collecta (Dettelbach:Verlag J.H. Roll GmbH, 2010), 66-83, fig. 6.

Lynch, Kathleen M. The Symposium in Context: Pottery from a Late Archaic House Near the Athenian Agora. Hesperia Suppl. 46 (Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2011), p. 86n81.

Zerrin Iren and Mahmut Boynudelik, Zeytinin Renkleri (Istanbul: Umur Yayinlari), p.42-43, pp. 42-43.

Saunders, David. "The Distribution of the Berlin Painter's Vases." In The Berlin Painter and His World. exh. cat. J.M. Padgett, ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2017), p.128, footnote 73.

Padgett, J. M. (ed.), The Berlin Painter and His World. exh. cat. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2017), p. 319, under no. 58, footnote 11, entry by A. C. Smith; p. 352, under no. 75, entry by J. H. Oakley; p. 362, under no. 80, footnote 3, entry by J. M. Padgett; p. 403, cat. no. FN 18.

Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




Ancient Greek & Roman Talk Show

Lesson in which students research and study artworks that depict Greek and Roman deities and present a mock TV talk show with the deities.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; History–Social Science

6-8; 9-12

Three/Five-Part Lesson