The J. Paul Getty Museum

Attic Red-Figure Kalpis

Object Details


Attic Red-Figure Kalpis


Attributed to Aegisthus Painter (Greek (Attic), active about 480 - about 460 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


about 470 B.C.



Object Number:



27.8 × 31 × 26.1 cm (10 15/16 × 12 3/16 × 10 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

As the first of his twelve Labors, the Greek hero Herakles had to slay the Nemean Lion, a monstrous beast that was ravaging the countryside around the city of Nemea. Since weapons were of no use against the creature’s impenetrable hide, Herakles' only option was to strangle it. Herakles battling the Nemean Lion was the most frequently depicted mythological scene in Greek art. In early depictions, Herakles stands facing the lion, but by the late 500s B.C., the combatants were often depicted wrestling on the ground. On this Athenian red-figure kalpis, a tree bends over Herakles and the lion, indicating that the action takes place outdoors.

The kalpis is the rounded form of a hydria, or water vessel, favored by red-figure artists in this period. The three handles of the shape facilitated pouring and lifting.

1963 - 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.

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
Greek Vases at Yale (November 19, 1975 to January 18, 1976)
  • Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven), November 19, 1975 to January 18, 1976
To Do Battle: Conflict, Struggle and Symbol in Art (March 8 to July 8, 2002)
  • Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena), March 8 to July 8, 2002

"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, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: 1969, p. 5, no. 57.

Beazley, J. D. Paralipomena. Additions to Attic Black-figure Vase-painters and to Attic Red-figure Vase-painters. 2nd ed. Oxford: 1971, p. 381, bottom.

Matheson, Susan Burke, and J. Jerome Pollitt. Greek Vases at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1975), pp. 64-66, no. 55, fig. 55.

True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases: Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), p. 37, no. 23, fig. 23; p. 76, no. 116.

Brommer, Frank. "Herakles und Theseus auf Vasen in Malibu," Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 2. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 3 (1985), pp. 183-228, p. 209; fig. 32.

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

The J. Paul Getty Trust Bulletin 2, no. 1 (1987), ill, front cover.

Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2, and Paralipomena. 2nd ed. Compiled by T. Carpenter with T. Mannack and M. Mendonca. Oxford: 1989, p. 252.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Calendar (Spring 1993), ill., detail.

Neer, Richard T. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. The J. Paul Getty Museum 7 (USA 32). Malibu: 1997, pp. 31-32, no. 30; fig. 10; pls. 354-355; and 356, 5-6.

Kostouros, George. A Narrative of the Nemean Games (Nemea: George Kostouros, 2008), p. 124, fig. 89.