The J. Paul Getty Museum

Attic Red-Figure Squat Lekythos

Object Details


Attic Red-Figure Squat Lekythos


Manner of Meidias Painter (Greek (Attic), active 420 - 390 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


about 400 B.C.



Object Number:



12.7 × 6.8 cm (5 × 2 11/16 in.)

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Object Description

Eros, the winged god of love, kneels in front of a woman sitting on a rock and unfastens her sandal on this Athenian red-figure lekythos. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, identified by his kerykeion, and Paris, shown as a young hunter, observe this scene from either side. Who is this woman? Certain elements of the scene, such as the sandal-loosening suggest that she is Helen, whose affair with Paris caused the Trojan War, whereas other elements, such as the presence of Hermes and the outdoor setting, suggest that the woman is Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The artist appears to have blended the iconography of two favorite scenes of the period around 400 B.C.: the judgment of Paris and the romance of Paris and Helen. This vase also shows several of the elaborations favored by vase-painters in this period: the use of a great deal of added white color and the addition of gilding to enrich the vase's decoration.

by 1969 - 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
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
Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (March 28, 2012 to May 26, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), March 28 to July 9, 2012

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. 66.

True, Marion, and Jiri Frel. Greek Vases: Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), p. 78, no. 135.

Burn, Lucilla. The Meidias Painter. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), p. 113, no. MM 100.

"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. 54-56, no. 53; fig. 27; pls. 377-378.

Pellegrini, Elisa. Eros nella Grecia arcaica e classica: iconografia e iconologia. (Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider, 2009), p. 354, no. 958.

Masters, S. and Andrason, A. "(Un)identifying Helen and Paris in late fifth-century BCE Athenian Vase-painting", In Greek Art in Context. Archaeological and Art-Historical Perspectives, edited by Diana Rodriguez-Perez (London: Routledge, 2017), p. 159.

Margariti, Katia. "Lament and Death instead of Marriage: The Iconography of Deceased Maidens on Attic Grave Reliefs of the Classical Period." Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Vol. 87, No. 1 (January-March 2018), pp. 91-176, 128, fn. 250.