Attic Red-Figure Kalpis

Object Details

Title:

Attic Red-Figure Kalpis

Artist/Maker(s):

Probably by Aegisthus Painter (Greek (Attic), active about 480 - about 460 B.C.)

Culture:

Greek (Attic)

Place(s):

Athens, Greece (Place created)

Date:

about 470 B.C.

Medium:

Terracotta

Dimensions:

27.7 x 26.1 cm (10 7/8 x 10 1/4 in.)

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As the first of his twelve Labors, the Greek hero Herakles had to slay the Nemean Lion, a monstrous beast with an impenetrable hide that was ravaging the countryside around the city of Nemea. Since weapons were of no use against the creature, 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 depicted down on the ground, stretched out in opposite directions.

On this Athenian red-figure kalpis, a tree bends over Herakles and the lion, a rare example of landscape elements in Greek art. Throughout the Archaic period and into the early Classical, vase-painters focused so completely on the figures in their narrative scenes that they excluded almost all background elements. Scenes played out in a sort of visual vacuum without any setting at all. On this vase, for example, the tree serves only as a marker to indicate 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.

Provenance
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.

Exhibitions
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
Bibliography

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. New Haven: 1975. pp. 64-66, no. 55, fig. 55.

True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases. Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 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.