Drinking cup (skyphos) with an amorous couple

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical to Early Hellenistic Period
about 330–320 B.C.
Artist Alabastra Group

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 052.


Overall: 9.5 x 16 cm (3 3/4 x 6 5/16 in.) Other (body): 8.9 cm (3 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



A: A man and woman embrace as if to kiss within the frame of an open window, the shutters being drawn in clumsy perspective. Only the heads of the couple are visible. He wears a white bandeau or padded fillet in his curly hair; her ringlets fall down from beneath her sakkos, which is decorated with white dots echoing the beads of her necklace. On both, the eyes are highlighted with white, and they look upward as though in ecstasy. There are two white phialai under the yellow frame of the window.
B: Eros, wearing a kekryphalos, shoes, and white radiate fillet, bracelets, and anklets, flies to the left carrying a wreath in his right hand.
Under each handle is a laurel plant flanked by rosettes. On the lip, a band of eggs with white and yellow cores extends between the handles on either side. The rays on the lower body are traditional for this shape. There are concentric circles on the underside of the foot.
The Alabastra Group was part of the Darius Painter Workshop and produced mostly vases of that name. Trendall and Cambitoglou list this cup with one of similar shape and ornament with Eros on both sides: Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, 77.109 (RVAp, II, p. 607,no. 21/27, pl. 233,3). For the unusual subject on the obverse of this cup, see Schauenburg (RM 79 [1972]; see reference below), and compare the female heads in windows on the Etruscan calyx-krater, catalogue no. 170.

(text from Vase-Painting In Italy, catalogue entry no. 52)


By 1968, Robert E. Hecht, Jr. (b. 1919 - d. 2012), New York; 1969, sold by Robert E. Hecht, Jr. to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 10, 1969)

Credit Line

Mary L. Smith Fund