Situla with an Amazonomachy scene
Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
about 340–330 B.C.
The Group of Copenhagen 2443
Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia
Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 040.
Height: 30.5 cm (12 in.)
Medium or Technique
Ceramic, Red Figure, Apulian
Not On View
Situla (type 2)
A: Amazonomachy. A mounted Amazon is attacking a Greek foot soldier, who advances from the right. The Amazon wears a short chiton, red trousers, a red, long-sleeved tunic, a belt with black and white dots, a red Phrygian camp, crossed bandoleers, and, over the left arm, a short cloak that blows out behind her. With her left hand she holds the reins of her rearing steed and with the right hand levels a long spear. The white body of the horse is tinted yellow in places. The Greek is nude save for embades, a Corinthian helmet of Italic type (worn on top of the head), and a chlamys that blows out behind him. He carries a shield and two short spears in his left hand, a longer spear in his right. The handle of the sword hanging at his hip is yellow, the hilt white. The yellow scabbard has a white tip. The helmet and damaged shield are shaded from dark yellow at the edges to white at their central convexity; the black curls on the shield are not from the warrior and would have been covered by the added white. A small plant in added yellow, white, and brown grows between his feet. Collapsed on the ground between the two combatants is a dying Amazon, dressed like her mounted compatriot but without a cap. Her axe and pelta have fallen beside her. She struggles to her knees, her face hidden, with red blood pouring from her head and side. Above, a small Nike flies toward the Greek to bestow a red and white wreath and red fillet. She wears white shoes and a kekryphalos, and a long chiton with red hem that distinguishes her from the far more numerous Erotes in Apulian vase-painting; compare the Eros crowning Dionysos on the previous vase, catalogue no. 39. The combatants may be Achilles and Penthesilea, since ordinary Greeks in combat with Amazons do not receive such honors.
B: A woman in a chiton, kekryphalos, and white shoes stands to the right holding a yellow thyrsos with a pendant fillet in her right hand and a laurel branch in her left. She wears bracelets, a necklace, and earrings, all in yellow. At her feet is a large budding acanthus with a yellow center. Before her, an Eros wearing bracelets, earrings, anklets, necklace, kekryphalos, and shoes flies to the right to offer a fillet to a nude youth, who is seated to the left on an Ionic capital. The youth wears a thick yellow fillet with a row of triple dots along its top edge. He holds a phiale in his right hand and a thyrsos with pendant fillet in the left. A rosette and a phiale (?) float in the field. Small plants grow below the youth.
The Painter of Copenhagen 4223 was a painter of ornate volute-kraters in the generation immediately before the Darius Painter. Compare a situla by the painter, formerly in the New York market, which may also represent Achilles and Penthesilea (RVAp, Suppl. I, p. 66, no.17/54b;
D. von Bothmer, “Arts in Virginia” 23:3 , p. 35, fig. 18). The Boston situla may be by the painter himself. For Apulian situlae, see comments on catalogue no. 37.
(text from Vase-Painting In Italy, catalogue entry no. 40)
By 1985: Galerie Günter Puhze, Stadtstrasse 28, D-7800 Freiburg, Germany (Kunst der Antike, Katalog 6, no. 226); by 1987: with Sotheby's, 34-35 New Bond Street, London (auction, July 13, 1987, lot 308); 1987: Dr. and Mrs. Jerome M. Eisenberg Collection (purchased at 1987 Sotheby auction, lot 308); gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jerome M. Eisenberg to MFA, March 27, 1991
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jerome M. Eisenberg