The J. Paul Getty Museum


Object Details




Attributed to the Lotus Bud Group




Orvieto (probably), Etruria (Place Created)


about 490 B.C.



Object Number:



34.6 × 21.5 cm (13 5/8 × 8 7/16 in.)

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Object Description

An unusual scene decorates this neck amphora: a nude youth wearing a chlamys over his shoulders walks to the left, holding a morsel of food for a long-tailed cat. Viewed from above with a frontal face, the cat leaps up with its forelegs extended to snatch the tempting treat. On the reverse is a winged horse, perhaps Pegasus, in profile toward the left, with its wings spread as if ascending or landing.

The amphora has been attributed to the Lotus Bud Group, a workshop active in Cerveteri or Orvieto during the first quarter of the 5th century B.C. Depictions of cheetahs and cats as domestic pets occur relatively frequently in Etruscan art, although scenes of cat-teasing are rare and are more typical in Greek art. On vases and tomb paintings in Tarquinia and Orvieto, domestic felines crouch expectantly under banquet tables and couches.

- 1968

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, November 26, 1968, lot 130, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

The Eclectic Cat (October 4 to November 17, 1985)
  • San Diego Natural History Museum (San Diego), October 4 to November 17, 1985
Gens Antiquissima Italiae: The Etruscans in Umbria (September 11 to November 3, 1991)
  • The Grey Art Gallery, New York University (New York), September 11 to November 3, 1991
The Chimaera of Arezzo (July 16, 2009 to February 8, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), July 16, 2009 to February 8, 2010

Sotheby's, London. Sale cat., November 26, 1968, lot 130, ill.

"Show is the Cats at Museum in S. D." Los Angeles Times, "Calendar" (San Diego County), October 11, 1985, pp. 1, 19, p. 1, ill.

Olten, Carol. "'The Eclectic Cat' purrfect exhibition." The San Diego Union (October 17, 1985), C-1, C-8, ill.

Schwarz, S. "Orvieto Vases in the Getty Museum," Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 4. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 5 (1989), pp. 167-180, pp. 174-77; figs. 4a-c; Appendix 2, p. 180, no. 7.

Gens antiquissima Italia. Antichita dall'Umbria a New York. Exh. cat., Grey Art Gallery, New York. F. Roncalli and L. Bonfante, eds. Perugia: 1991, pp. 245-46; fig. 5.7.

Ashmead, Ann. "Etruscan Domesticated Cats: Classical Conformists or Etruscan Originals," Murlo and the Etruscans. R. De Puma and P. Small, eds. Madison: 1994. pp. 144-164, p. 146, no. 5; fig. 14.4 (detail).

De Puma, Richard. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. The J. Paul Getty Museum 9 (USA 34). Malibu: 2000, pp. 33-34; pls. 503-504.

Iozzo, Mario, ed., et. al. The Chimaera of Arezzo, exh. cat. (Firenze: Edizioni Polistampa, 2009), p. 18, fig. 11.

Lyons, Claire L. "New Etruscan Gallery premieres at the Getty Villa." Etruscan News 20 (Winter 2018), p. 16, fig. 5.