Pitcher (trefoil oinochoe)

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
about 340 B.C.
Artist Pilos Head Group


Place of Manufacture: Italy, Campania

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 082.

Dimensions

Height: 24.5 cm (9 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

1970.363

Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View

Collections

Europe, The Ancient World

Classifications

Vessels

A centaur wearing a white wreath trots to the left, carrying a sapling with white leaves over his right shoulder and a boulder under his left arm. A hare and two birds hang from the tree. A band of wave-pattern circles the lower neck, and the shoulder is filled by a broad band of tongues. The lateral frames consist of tall, scrolling tendrils enclosed within narrow rectangles. The groundline is a band of dotted egg-pattern. There are large palmettes and floral ornaments on the back.

In Attic vase-painting, the tree branch hung with small game was an attribute of the wise centaur Cheiron. The boulder, however, one would expect to see carried by one of the wild centaurs who broke up the wedding of Perithoos or who attacked Herakles at the well of Pholos. This, then is an all-purpose centaur, equipped by the artist with all of the traditional attributes but without a reference to a specific story or individual. Compare an oinochoe of shape 10, also from the Pilos Head Group, with a very similar centaur carrying a sapling with a dead hare: Vienna 828 (Trendall, LCS, p. 271, no. 6/291, pl. 109, 3). For Cheiron, see M. Gisler-Huwiler, LIMC, III, 1, pp. 237-248; III, 2, pls. 185-197.

(text from Vase-Painting in Italy, catalogue entry no. 82)

ITALIAN VASE PAINTING in ITALY, #82 (1970.363)
Oinochoe (shape 2)
Attributed to the Pilos Head Group
about 340 B.C.

A centaur wearing a white wreath trots to the left, carrying a sapling with white leaves over his right shoulder and a boulder under his left arm. A hare and two birds hang from the tree. A band of wave-pattern circles the lower neck, and the shoulder is filled by a broad band of tongues. The lateral frames consisit of tall, scrolling tendrils enclosed within narrow rectangles. The groundline is a band of dotted egg-pattern. There are large palmettes and floral ornaments on the back.
In Attic vase-painting, the tree branch hung with small game was an attribute of the wise centaur Cheiron. The boulder, however, one would expect to see carried by one of the wild centaurs who broke up the wedding of Perithoos or who attacked Herakles at the well of Pholos. This, then, is an all-purpose centaur, equipped by the artist with all of the traditional attributes but without reference to a specific story or individual. Compare an oinochoe of shape 10, also from the Pilos Head Group, with a very similar centaur carrying a sapling with a dead hare: Vienna 828 (Trendall, LCS, p. 171, no. 6/291, pl. 109, 3). For Cheiron, see M. Gisler-Hawiler, LIMC, III, 1, pp. 237-248; III, 2, pls. 185-197.

Provenance

1970: published by A. D. Trendall, The Red-Figured Vases of Lucania, Campania and Sicily, First Supplement (1970), p. 47, no. 291a, as Boston 1970.363 (ex Zurich market); by date unknown: with Royal-Athena Galleries, 1066 Madison Avenue, New York; April or early May, 1970: purchased from Royal-Athena Galleries by the Boston Teachers Club; Gift of Boston Teachers Club to MFA, May 13, 1970

Credit Line

Gift of the Boston Teachers Club in memory of Mary Ward (September 14, 1884 - May 6, 1949)