Oil flask (lekythos)

Late Archaic Period
510–500 B.C.
Cactus Painter

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


25.9 cm (10 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Black Figure

Not On View


The Ancient World



Herakles and the Cretan bull. Herakles grasps one horn with his right hand, and squeezes the bull’s neck with his left arm. Herakles’ distinctive club hangs in the foliage behind him along with his cloak and on the right, his quiver. A decorative meander frames the scene above and below.

“The Cactus Painter is also capable of a delicacy we miss in much Leagran work. He is named for the prickly pears on his palmette tendrils” (J. Boardman, p.114, Athenian Black Figure Vases: a handbook).

Condition: A piece on the shoulder of the vase is missing.


By 1893: with Mr. de Caix de Saint-Aymour in Paris (said to have been found in the island of Euboea, at Eretria); purchased from him by an Anonymous donor; Anonymous gift to MFA, March 1893

Credit Line

Anonymous gift