Funerary Vessel with an Underworld Scene (detail, pre-conservation), South Italian, made in Apulia, 360–340 BC; found in Altamura, Italy, in 1847, terracotta. Red-figure volute krater attributed to the Circle of the Lycurgus Painter. National Archaeological Museum of Naples, 81666 Funerary Vessel with an Underworld Scene (detail, pre-conservation), South Italian, made in Apulia, 360–340 BC; found in Altamura, Italy, in 1847, terracotta. Red-figure volute krater attributed to the Circle of the Lycurgus Painter. National Archaeological Museum of Naples, 81666
Who’s for release from cares and troubles? —Charon, ferryman of the dead, in Aristophanes’ Frogs

How did the ancient Greeks envision life after death? The realm of Hades, god of the Underworld, was traditionally imagined as a dreary, joyless place. Yet some individuals believed they could avoid such a fate and ensure a better outcome for their souls.

Organized around a monumental funerary vessel on loan from National Archaeological Museum in Naples and recently conserved at the Getty Villa, this exhibition explores depictions of the Underworld in the art of Greece and southern Italy. Beyond tales of famous wrongdoers and rulers of the dead, the objects on view highlight the desire for a blessed existence after death.

Organized in collaboration with the National Archaeological Museum of Naples – Laboratory of Conservation and Restoration.

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