Mixing bowl (column-krater) with maenad and Dionysos

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
about 340–235 B.C.
Artist The Patera Painter

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 058.


Height: 42 cm (16 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



A: A maenad, with a torch in her right hand and a large basket containing a white cake and sprigs in the left hand, is walking to the left, looking back. She wears a chiton and kekryphalos and has a cloak over her right arm. Her jewelry consists of a bracelet, necklace, and earrings, all in added white and yellow. Her chignon is secured with a white fillet. She is followed by the young Dionysos, carrying a dotted wreath in his right hand and a thyrsos and a cloak in the left. He is nude except for a yellow wreath and fillet. White fillets hang from the torch, the thyrsos, the wreath, and the upper border. There is a rosette in the field at right, a tendril in the lower right corner, and a plant with white berries growing from the dotted groundline. The figures walk on groundlines of white dots.
B: Two youths wearing shoes and himatia and holding crooked staffs in their right hands, stand facing each other. Filling the field between their heads is a grotesquely enlarged writing tablet. There are stylized jumping weights at the upper left and a quadrated disk with dots at the upper right.
In the panels on either side of the neck are ivy vines with circular berries. A wave-pattern is on the outer rim and small black palmettes on the sides of the handle-plates. There are rays around the top of the rim and black palmettes on top of the handle-plates. The pictures have lateral frames of degenerate ivy and upper frames of tongues. The lower frame on each side consists of groups of four stopt maeanders to left alternating with dotted cross-squares.
The Patera Painter was a contemporary of the Darius Painter. A prolific painter, mostly of large pots with funerary scenes he seems to have worked at Taranto, Ruvo, and finally Canosa, where he influenced the Baltimore Painter. The ornament and figures on this krater are entirely characteristic. That the rectangle on side B is indeed a writing tablet is made clear on other vases, where the stylus is well defined; compare the stylus and tablet, as well as the youths holding crooked staffs, on London F 295 (RVAp, II, p. 742, no. 23/126, pl. 274,6). Sometimes the rectangle is instead a cista held by one of the youths (e.g. RVAp, II, pl. 275, 6, no. 23/145b). For a similar basket with cake and sprigs, compare RVAp, II, pl. 274, 2, no. 23/127. For a recent study of the artist, see K. Schauenburg, AA 1992, pp. 413-431; see also S. Caranti Martignago, in “II Carobbio 5” (1979), pp. 62-70.

(text from Vase-Painting In Italy, catalogue entry no. 58)


1960: Source Unknown; accessioned by MFA in 1960

Credit Line

Source unidentified