Oil flask (squat lekythos)
Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
about 370–360 B.C.
Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia
Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 019.
16.5 cm (6 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Ceramic, Red Figure
Not On View
Around outside of mouth, two maenads and a satyr. Principal design a woman seated to left, playing with a bird; another woman at left, youth at right.
Ovoid body, broad grooved foot, vertical handle, short neck, standard lekythos mouth, with flat top.
ITALIAN VASE PAINTING in ITALY, # 19 (76.59)
Attributed to the Lecce Painter
about 370-360 B.C.
On the body, a woman wearing a clinging chiton, sphendone, yellow necklace, and white earrings and bracelets, is seated to the left on a white rock; she is playing with a bird, a white dove, which has perched on her right knee and looks up at her right hand. Facing her, at the left, stands another woman in similar garb holding a phiale full of offerings in her extended left hand and a wreath in her lowered right hand. To the right of the seated woman, a youth wearing a himation and a wreath leans on his staff to left. He holds a strigil in his raised right hand. Behind him is a blood-splattered altar.
Around the outside of the mouth are two maenads and an ithyphallic satyr, walking to the left and carrying wreaths; the middle maenad also carries a tympanum. Both maenads wear himatia.
Around the middle of the neck is a band of stopt maeanders to left, and below this is a broad band of tongues. A band of wave-pattern circles the shoulder and below this, over the figures, is a row of white dots. The groundline consists of stopt maeanders to left. On the back of the vase is an elaborate palmette complex, from which scrolling tendrils emerge to frame the figures.
The Lecce Painter was one of the many followers of the Tarporley Painter and a close associate of the Hoppin and Truro Painters. Compare the shape and subject of Philadelphia, University Museum, L-64-224, by the same painter (RVAp, I, p. 125, no. 5/225; CVA1, pl. 23).
The seated woman with bird, the woman bringing offerings, and the youth standing next to a pillar or stele are all characters familiar with funerary scenes on Athenian white-ground lekythoi. No direct connection is suggested, but a funerary milieu is not unlikely. The strigil and pillar might also suggest the palaestra, but the presence of women should rule this out. For the woman and bird, compare Aphrodite on cat. no. 21.
The addition of decoration on the mouth is very unusual; compare the mouth of an Attic red-figure lekythos in Paris, with Eos and Tithonos: Louvre G. 614 (J. de la Genière, in Cambitoglou, “Studies Trendall, pp. 75-80, pl. 19).
By date unknown: Thomas Gold Appleton Collection (according to Robinson, Catalogue, no. 503: purchased by him of Alessandro Castellani; from Ruvo); gift of Thomas Gold Appleton to MFA, 1876
Gift of Thomas Gold Appleton