Phoenix Ancient Art S.A. (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1994.
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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 211, The Roman Villa
Two-handled Cup with Relief Decoration
25 B.C.–A.D. 100
12.5 × 16.3 × 11.4 cm (4 15/16 × 6 7/16 × 4 1/2 in.)
Encircling this two-handled drinking cup is a scene from Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey. The Greek hero Odysseus has traveled to the Underworld to consult the ghost of the blind seer Teiresias—the only one who can tell him how to return home to Ithaca. Odysseus, shown brandishing his sword, has just sacrificed a ram to summon the spirits of the dead. Teiresias and another figure are shown sitting on rocks. The other side of the cup depicts a group of men in conversation—seven figures, all older men wearing cloaks, who may be identified as philosophers. The handles are decorated with foliate patterns on the tops of their shafts above the rim, and at their attachment plates to the body of the cup. The foot is decorated with a sharp fillet near the top, and with a beaded band and ovolo atop the footplate.
Roman domestic silver of fine quality often displayed images referring to Greek myth and literature. Cups decorated with narrative subjects inspired discussion at refined dinner parties, where guests could identify the scenes and admire their host's taste. Heavy, silver drinking cups with repoussé decoration were very popular in the first century A.D. Such vessels were formed from an outer case decorated with the relief and a plain inner liner soldered together. The feet and handles were made separately and soldered on.
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Andreae, Bernard, and Claudio Parisi Presicce, eds. Ulisse. Il mito e la memorie. Exh. cat., Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, February 22-September 2, 1996. Rome: 1996, pp. 72-95; figs. 1-5.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 57.
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Oliver, Jr., Andrew. "The Changing Fashions of Roman Silver." Record: Princeton University Art Museum 63 (2004), pp. 16, 21, fig. 22.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 40, ill.
Latacz, Joachim and Thierry Greub, et al, eds. Homer: Der Mythos von Troia in Dichtung und Kunst, exh. cat. ( Munich: Himmer Verkag, 2008), p. 235, abb. 8a and b.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 210.
Lang, Jörn. Mit Wissen geschmückt? Zur bildlichen Rezeption griechischer Dichter und Denker in der römischen Lebenswelt, Monumenta Artis Romanae 39 (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2012), pp. 114, 192, no. V TypG3, fig. 279.
William, Dyfri. "A Cantharus from ancient Betar near Jerusalem (the so-called Warren Cup) and Roman Silver Plate." BABesch 90 (2015), p. 196.