Two-handled jar (amphora) depicting the murder of Atreus

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
about 340–330 B.C.
the Darius Painter

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 042.


Height: 88.3 cm (34 3/4 in.); diameter of body: 38.8 cm (15 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure


Europe, The Ancient World



Front, upper register: Murder of Atreus
Back, upper register: Dionysos and his retinue
Lower register: Youths, women and Erotes
Front, on the neck: Head of the goddess Io emerging from a vine

At the center of the upper register, Atreus, king of Mycenae, sprawls mortally wounded on his throne. To the left are his murderers: his brother Thyestes and Thyestes’ son Aigisthos. Pelopeia, Thyestes’ daughter, raises her eyes to heaven at the extreme left. To the right of the throne are Poine, the winged goddess of retribution, and the palace maids.


Atlantis Antiquities, New York [see note 1]. 1991, Fritz Bürki and Son, Zurich; 1991, sold by Bürki to Leon Levy and Shelby White, New York (one-half interest) and the MFA (one-half interest) [see note 2]; 2006, remaining half interest given by Shelby White to the MFA; September 21, 2006, deaccessioned by the MFA for transfer to the Republic of Italy.

[1] According to A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou, Second Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia (London, 1991), p. 148, no. 47b, pl. 36, 1. [2] MFA accession date: June 26, 1991.

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Credit Line

Gift of Shelby White and Leon Levy and Museum purchase with funds donated by the Jerome Levy Foundation