Oil flask (lekythos)

Classical Period
about 470–460 B.C.
the Aischines Painter

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


Height: 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


The Ancient World



A bearded man plays a lyre (barbiton), plucking the strings with a plectrum held in his right hand. He wears a wreath of myrtle or laurel leaves. His cloak is wrapped around his left arm and hangs down behind him. The man moves energetically to the right and looks back to the left. The undulating red band behind him has been interpreted as a snake rearing up, but as Michael Padgett has suggested, it is more likely that it is the man’s cane, which the man has jammed in the ground to leave his hands free for playing. The man’s dynamic movement and his wreath indicate that he is a revelling komast.


By 1987: with Christie, Manson and Woods Ltd., 8 King Street, St. James's, London S.W.1, England (Christie's Sale December 11, 1987, lot 188); purchased on behalf of Cornelius Vermeule by Robin Symes Ltd., 3 Ormond Yard, Duke of York Street, St. James's, London S.W.1; purchased by Cornelius Vermeule, December 1987, from Robin Symes Ltd.; loaned to MFA by Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III, August 2, 1988 (loan number T 303.1.1988); gift to MFA from Cornelius C. Vermeule III, March 21, 2001, in memory of Emily Dickinson Townsend Vermeule

Credit Line

Gift in memory of Emily Dickinson Townsend Vermeule