The J. Paul Getty Museum

Attic Red-Figure Dinoid Volute Krater and Stand

Object Details


Attic Red-Figure Dinoid Volute Krater and Stand


Attributed to the Meleager Painter (Greek (Attic), active 420 - 380 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


390–380 B.C.



Object Number:



78.7 × 40.6 cm (31 × 16 in.)

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Object Description

On one side of the neck of this krater, Adonis reclines on a couch, with a diminutive figure of Eros perched before him with a dish of fruits. On either side are Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, with their female attendants. According to myth, Aphrodite fell in love with the beautiful Adonis. Shortly after, he was killed in a hunting accident. Aphrodite was so distraught that Zeus, the king of the gods, made Adonis immortal, allowing him to leave Hades, the underworld of the dead, for part of the year to be with Aphrodite. He always, however, had to return to Hades, where he was Persephone's lover. This cycle of death and rebirth was linked with the regeneration of vegetation and the crop seasons in ancient Greece. Originating in the Near East, the cult of Adonis was introduced to Athens in about 440 B.C.; its devotees were exclusively female.

The other side of the krater's neck shows a scene from a symposium, or drinking party, in which three male couples recline on couches. Running around the side of the stand, a scene of Dionysos reclining in the company of his entourage mirrors the scene with Adonis above. Depicted on the top of the stand is a hunt scene with both real and mythological animals.

Many aspects of this vessel, notably the ribbing on the surface of the bowl, and the ornate handles, are more typical of vases produced in South Italy than in Athens, perhaps indicating that it was made for export to that area. The potter’s skill is in no doubt, and is augmented by a rich array of decorative features. Added clay relief is used for the ivy pattern just below the mouth and the wreath of olive around the body, while many details are embellished with gilding, such as the tiny frontal female faces at the center of each handle. Small sculptural heads, their hair also embellished with gilding, emerge at the junction between the handles and the shoulder. At such a reduced scale, they offer only a cursory rendering of Black African youths, but their presence—suggestive of enslaved individuals, whose presence made possible a symposiast’s leisure (compare 83.AE.229) —added further allure to this extravagant vessel.

by 1986 -1987

Antike Kunst Palladion (Basel, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1987.

The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases (June 8 to September 4, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), June 8 to September 4, 2006
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

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