Two-handled jar (Nolan amphora)

Late Archaic or Early Classical period
about 480 B.C.
the Brygos Painter

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Catalogue Raisonné

Caskey-Beazley, Attic Vase Paintings (MFA), no. 019.


Height: 29.9 cm (11 3/4 in.); diameter: 18.7 cm (7 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure technique

On View

Greek Classical Gallery (Gallery 215B)


The Ancient World



This amphora is decorated on both sides. The two scenes appear to be clearly related, which is not always the case with Greek pottery. One side shows a kitharode (a singer who accompanies himself on the kithara, a large concert lyre), and the other side shows a person who appears to be listening.

On the front, a youth is throwing his head back and with his mouth open, is singing and playing the kithara. He wears a fillet and a long, fancy Ionic tunic (chiton) embroidered with crosses, a short black-bordered mantle fastened on his right shoulder, and leather shoes. He holds the instrument against his left shoulder and with his right hand holds the plectrum ready for striking the strings. The plectrum is decorated with a red tassel, and is fastened to the arm of the kithara by a long cord. One detail is noteworthy: the convexity of the large bosses on its arms is indicated by shading in thinned paint, such as is often found in Brygan renderings of still-life. In the field, the vertical Greek inscription to the left of the figure, HO [P]AIS KALOS.

On the reverse of the amphora a youth, wreathed, wrapped in a long cloak (himation), and wearing shoes, stands in a relaxed pose, and leans on a knobbly stick, his bowed head resting on his hand. He likely represents the audience; passive in attitude and facial expression. In the field, the vertical Greek inscription to the left of the figure, HO [P]AIS KALOS.


On both sides: "the boy [is] pretty" (HO PAIS KALOS)
On the front:
On the reverse:


Said to be from Gela. 1926, sold by J. Hirsch (probably Jacob Hirsch; dealer, b. 1874 - d. 1955) to the MFA for $900. (Accession Date: March 4, 1926)

Credit Line

John Michael Rodocanachi Fund