Mixing bowl (bell krater)

Greek, South Italian
Classical Period
about 370–360 B.C.
The Painter of Boston 00.348

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 018.


Height: 34 cm (13 3/8 in.); diameter: 39 cm (15 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



Side A: Athena playing the double flutes, in the center of a group. A youth holds a mirror in front of her. Two satyrs, a maenad, and a reclining god.
Side B: Three satyrs and a maenad.
Repaired with some restorations, not affecting the pictures.

VASE-PAINTING in ITALY, # 18 (00.348)
The name-vase of the Painter of Boston 00.348
about 370-360 B.C.
A: Athena is seated in the center of the scene, using her aegis as a cushion. She is playing the auloi next to a small tree with yellow leaves. The goddess wears a chiton and bordered himation, which has fallen around her waist. She has sandals and a necklace. A youth with a cloak over his left arm and leaning on a staff holds a white mirror in front of Athena, so that she can see how her playing distorts her appearance, a fact emphasized by the lines radiating rom her mouth. Her reflection in the mirror is rendered with yellow lines. Zeus reclines above and behind her, his scepter in his left hand; his bordered himation has fallen around his waist. Below him, the booted Pappasilenos, his hair and beard in orange-yellow slip, chases a red-orange “Maltese”dog to the right. At the far left, a maenad in chiton, necklace, and belted leopard skin approaches with a thyrsos in her left hand. At the exptreme right, the ill-fated Marsyas approaches the scene on tiptoes, his right hand extended, as though already anticipating the retrieval of the flutes, which Athena will discard when she sees how playing them distorts her face.
The arrangement of the figures at various levels, without groundlines so that they seem to float in a black void, is characteristic of the painter. The presence of old Pappasilenos suggests the inspiration of a satyr play. Because of his central location, we might suppose he is Marsyas, but the darker-haired and apparently younger satyr near the handle assumes a posture not unlike that of the so-called Lateran Marsyas, a Roman statue thought to be based on a fifth-century work by Myron. Myron’s statue showed Marsyas’s surprised reaction to finding the flutes. His reaction here is thus premature, and his legs are not in the same position, but the upraised arm and the backwards lean of the body are clearly similar. The youth with the mirror is not identified by any attribute, but if the tree is a laurel, he may be Apollo. If so, his presence alludes to the outcome of the story, when he defeated the overweening Marsyas in a musical contest and had him flayed alive. For Marsyas, see A. Weis, LIMC, VI, 1, pp. 366-378; VI, 2, pls. 183-193. For Myron’s sculpture, see G. Daltrop, “Il Gruppo mironiano di Athena e Marsia nei Musei Vaticani (Vatican City, 1980); and A. Weis, “The Hanging Marsyas Statue” (Ph.D. dissertation, Bryn Mawr College, 1976).
B: A satyr is running to the left, a torch with a cream-colored flame in his left hand. He looks back at a nude youth with a staff in his right hand, a cream-colored fillet on his head, and a draped cloak over his right arm and pulled out by his left hand.To judge by his company, the youth should be Dionysos, but he lacks any identifying attribute. He looks back toward a maenad, with a thyrsos in her left hand, who moves left; she wears a chiton and necklace and has her hair tied in a chignon. At the far right, a satyr with white fillet and a thyrsos in his right hand has turned aside to relieve himself.
A wreath of laurel encircles the vase under the lip. Rays circle the handle-roots, and there are palmettes below each handle. A band consisting of groups of four stopt maeanders to left alternating with cross-and saltire-squares circles the lower body.
The painter of Boston 00.348 was an associate of the more prolific Judgement Painter and, like him, worked in the Plain-style tradition. A bell-krater in a Virginia private collection with a scene of Iphigenia at Tauris has recently been attributed to the artist by Trendall (RVAp, Suppl. II, p. 63, no. 10/48a; L. Kahil and N. Icard, LIMC, V, 1, p. 715; V, 2, pl. 469, Iphigeneia 21).


By 1900: with E. P. Warren (according to Warren's records: Found acc. to Jatta (Annali n.s. [1879] p. 24) by Signor Nunzio Basta in un fondo denominato S. Nicola . . . . presso Canosa); purchased by MFA from E. P. Warren, February 1900

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund