Drinking cup (kylix)

Italic, Etruscan
Late Classical Period
350–325 B.C.
Clusium Group

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 169.


Overall: 22.4 cm (8 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


The Ancient World



Interior: Three figures dancing on an exergue; a maenad and two satyrs.
Exterior: Both sides alike: a nude woman looks at a fat draped woman at left.
Largely restored. Foot of vase gone.

Northern Etruscan
Attributed to the Clusium Group (Beazley):
attributed to the Tondo Group, Painter B (Harari)
350-325 B.C.
Interior: Three figures are dancing on a bead-and-reel groundline. In the center, an ecstatic maenad in a bordered chiton whirls about to the tune of the double-pipes, played by the frontal satyr-boy at the left. She wears earrings, and a pin fastens her chiton at the shoulder. Dilute glaze is used to tint the folds of her garment. Her fingers are long and curved, like claws. At the right, a satyr in a leopard skin stands on tiptoes and washes (?) his hands in a pedestaled louterion; he, too, has curious hands, which are bent far back as they touch at the wrists. A thyrsos stands behind the louterion, and an object, almost entirely missing now, hangs from a peg at the far left. Beazley (EVP, p. 114) thought that the peg might be a goat’s horn tipped with a ball and that the object is an alabastron; it could also be a flute case. The circular frame of the tondo consists of groups of stopt maenders to right alternating with checkerboards.
A and B: On either side, a nude woman stands in a relaxed posture, her left hand on her hip and a drinking horn in her raised right hand. She wears a necklace, shoes, and earrings, and her wavy hair streams out behind her as though blown in the wind. Facing her at the left is a large, fat woman dressed in a curious gown, with a broad vertical stripe. Her left breast is exposed, and her left arm is massive and heavy.
Below each handle and framing the figures are large, enclosed palmettes with tendrils and flowers. The groundline is a single reserved stripe.
It is possible that the figures on the exterior were meant to be humorous, but there is a disquieting solemnity about them as well, shared also by the grotesque maenad of the interior. The exterior figures are closely paralleled by those on the kylix Geneva 23471 (M. Cristofani, in Nartelli, Ceramica, pp. 237 [fig.180],331). Cristofani attributes the Geneva cup to the “Montediano Painter,” and this kylix (or at least its exterior) must be from the same hand, as is a cup in the Vatican
(inv. Z 89: Trendall, Vasi antichi, II, pl. 60 b-c). Compare also the figures on the exterior of Florence 92093/a (San Martino ai Colli [Rome, 1984], opp. 57, 61-62, no. 42).
Harari (Gruppo Clusium, p. 31) attributes the interiors of some of these cups to two different painters: Painter B for this piece and Painter C for that in the Vatican. Trendall (JHS 101 [1981], p. 216) objects to the distinction between the interiors as “perhaps too finely drawn.” Like others before him, however, Harari points out that the stylized exteriors and the more naturalistic interiors could well have been executed by different hands (Gruppo Clusium, pp.120-121). That one hack could work for two different expert craftsmen within a workshop does not seem improbable, and the distinction between Painters B and C still seems valid.
Beazley (EVO, p. d114) referred to the curious hands of the maenad and satyr as the “Etruscan-dancer hand”; compare the hands of the girl on Villa Giulia 43608 (CVA2, pls, 1-3, and 17,5) The pattern of the groundline in the interior he compared to one on the Bucciosanti mirror (E. Gerhard, ed., “Etruskische Spiegel”, V[Berlin, 1884-1897],pp. 44-46, pl. 35). The early and finer productions of the clusium Group, like those of the Tondo Group, are usually ascribed to Chiusi, but recent scholarshiop has tended either to shift this production to Volterra or, like Cristofan (in Martelli, Ceramica, pp. 49, 329), to consider it simply a northern Etruscan workshop.


By 1901: with E. P. Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome.); purchased by MFA from E. P. Warren, December 1901

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund