The J. Paul Getty Museum

Apulian Red-Figure Bell Krater

Object Details


Apulian Red-Figure Bell Krater


Attributed to the Cotugno Painter (Greek (Apulian), active about 370 - 360 B.C.)


Greek (South Italian, Apulian)


Apulia, South Italy (Place Created)


370–360 B.C.



Object Number:



34 cm (13 3/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Object Description

A phlyax play enacted on a simple stage decorates the front of this Apulian red-figure bell-krater. Phlyax plays, popular in the 300s and 200s B.C. in the Greek colonies in Italy, were farces parodying either heroes and themes of mythology or the comic elements of everyday life. On this vase, the performance appears to mock the amorous adventures of Zeus, the king of the gods. An old man with a straggly beard, marked as Zeus by his crown and eagle-topped scepter, advances lecherously toward a woman in the middle of the stage. Unlike the young maidens Zeus usually pursues, she is portrayed as an elderly figure with short white hair, wrinkles, a stubby nose, and thick lips. A slave stands at the left watching the action. The figures wear the distinctive costume of phlyax actors: a mask, tights, a padded tunic, and a large artificial phallus. In contrast to the raucous action on the front, the back of the vase depicts a quiet scene of a youth and two women.

by 1992 -

Atelier Amphora (Lugano, Switzerland)

by 1993 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995

Trendall, Arthur Dale, and Alexander Cambitoglou. Second Supplement to The Red-figured Vases of Apulia (Supplement to the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London, 60). London: 1991-1992, postscript, p. 564, no. 10/46a (as on the Swiss market).

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), pp. 131-35, cat. no. 58.

Zewadski, William Knight. Ancient Greek Vases from South Italy in Tampa Bay Collections. Supplement III. Tampa: August 1995, p. 107, no. 3j.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 68.

Green, J. Richard. "Comic Cuts: Snippets of Action on the Greek Comic Stage." BICS 45 (2001), 37-64, 46, 56, fig. 8.

Green, J. Richard. "Smart and Stupid: the Evolution of Some Masks and Characters in Fourth-Century Comedy." In Theaters of Action. Papers for Chris Dearden, edited by John Davidson and Arthur Pomeroy (Auckland: Polygraphia, 2003), 118-132, 125.

Rusten, Jeffrey, ed. The Birth of Comedy (Baltimore: JHU Press, 2011), p. 437.

Green, J. R. "Comic Vases in South Italy", in Theater Outside Athens: Drama in Greek Sicily and South Italy, edited by K. Bosher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 335, no. 35.

Hughes, Alan. Performing Greek Comedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 193, fig. 48.

Green, John Richard. “Zeus on a See-Saw. A Comic Scene from Paestum.” ΛOΓEION: A Journal of Ancient Theatre 4, (2014), 1-27.

Biles, Z. and Thorn, J. "Rethinking Choregic Iconography in Apulia", in Csapo, E. et al. (eds.), Greek Theatre in the Fourth Century B.C. (Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2014), 295-317.

Green, J. Richard. "Pictures of Pictures of Comedy: Campanian Santia, Athenian Amphitryon, and Plautine Amphitruo" In Images and Texts. Papers in Honour of Professor Eric Handley, edited by Richard Green and Mike Edwards (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2015), 45-80, 72, fn. 62.

Herring, Edward. Patterns in the Production of Apulian Red-Figure Pottery (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018), p. 80.