Jar (pelike) with amorous scenes

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
about 325 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 046.


43.2 cm (17 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



Side A: Bridal pair seated with a female attendant standing at either side and Eros seated above them.
Side B. Youth offering a wreath to a seated woman behind whom is a second woman, standing.

Attributed to the Egnazia Group (Trendall); perhaps the Painter of Bari 12061 (Hermann)
about 325 B.C.
A: At the left, a woman in a peplos, kekryphalos, radiate fillet, and white earrings, stands with one foot resting on a white rock; she holds a “xylophone” in her left hand and an alabastron in her right, both white. She offers the alabastron to a seated woman holding a mirror in her right hand and a yellow ball of wool in her left. She too wears a peplos and, like the first woman, has shoes, bracelets, and a necklace, all in added white. A white-dotted fillet binds the tousled hair framing her face, drawn in three-quarter view. She turns to look at a seated youth holding a phiale in his right hand and a white staff in the left. He wears a wreath and sits on a cloak that drapes over his lap. A large yellow lyre (kithara) is on the ground beside him at the right, and beyond is a woman standing with a white wreath in her right hand and a fillet in the left. She wears a chiton, a cloak over both arms, a sphendone, and white shoes, bracelets, earrings, necklace, and radiage fillet. Above, an Eros is seated on a cloak,holding a fillet in his right hand and a phiale and two fillets in his left. He wears a beaded fillet, necklace, earrings, and anklets, all in white, as well as shoes. His white wings spread out on either side. A small bird with a fillet in its feet flies toward the seated woman. Dotted groundlines of white indicate the terrain, as does the yellow flower growing from the lower border. There is a phiale in the field at the upper right.
The youth might be Dionysos, but the women have no maenadic attributes, and there are no vines, kraters, or other articles associated with his cult. The lyre might indicate Apollo, but it is not clearly his; nor are there any certain attributes of the god, not even a laurel branch. Compare the lyre next to Dionysos on cat.no. 53.
B: A woman with a phiale in her right hand and a long branch in the left is seated to the left on a dotted groundline. At left, a nude youth offers her the wreath in his left hand; he wears shoes and uses his cloak to pad the staff he leans on. At right, a woman stands with a tympanum in her right hand and a bunch of grapes in her left. Both women wear shoes, chitons, sphendones, radiate fillets, bracelets, and necklaces. A small laurel grows in the left foreground, in front of the seated woman, and at the right grows a flower. In the field above are a fillet and a narrow “window.” Dotted groundlines indicate the terrain.
On the obverse neck are alternating lotus and palmettes above a band of dotted-egg pattern and a row of white dots, like the pendants of a necklace; on the reverse is a laurel wreath with white berries. Beneath the handles are palmettes and scrolls with white dots. A band consisting of groups of stopt maeanders to left alternating with dotted cross-squares circles the lower body.
The vase belongs to a large group of pelikai that are closely interrelated by their similar compositions and decoration and frequently by their amorous themes. Often they display the influence of the Darius Painter, but at times, as in this case, the influence of the Varrese Painter dominates. The drawing of the heads and drapery is especially close to that of followers of the Varrese Painter like the Wolfenbüttel Painter of Bari 12061. For the Wolfenbüdttel Painter, see RVAp, I, pp. 356-358, pls. 114-115; Trendall, “Handbook”, pp. 84, 121, fig. 175. For the Painter of Bari 12061, see Trendall, “Handbook”, pp. 84-85, figs. 179-180; RVAp, I, p. 376; Aellen, Cambitoglou, and Chamay, “Peintre de Darius”, pp. 71- 83, pl. 17. A calyx-krater in Brussels with the punishment of Marsyas could well be by the same hand as the Boston pelike (Musées Royaux d’Art et d’ Historie R 227; RVAp, II, pp. 506-507), no. 18/108: “in the manner of the Darius Painter and possibly by his own hand”).


By date unknown: Mrs. S. V. R. Thayer Collection; gift of Mrs. S. V. R. Thayer to MFA, June 2, 1910

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. S.V.R. Thayer