White ground oil flask (lekythos) depicting a grave monument for an athlete

Classical Period
about 450–440 B.C.
Painter Thanatos Painter

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


Height: 31.5 cm (12 3/8 in.) Diameter: 10 cm (3 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, White Ground, polychrome

On View

Gallery 212A-B


The Ancient World



The grave monument resting on a two-stepped base represented is an unusual type. It is topped by a pediment terminating in volutes in each lateral corner and a palmette akroterion at the apex. Two akroteria in the form of standing young athletes rest upon the corner volutes. Both lean on spheres and face outward. The figure to the left holds a strigil. The pediment itself is decorated with figures in silhouette – two figures are boxing, while two seated spectators occupy the corners. A discus decorated with a triskeles floats in the left of the field, and a lyre floats in the right.

A bearded man wearing a mantle draped over one shoulder stoops, nearly kneeling upon the bottom step of the grave marker, supported by a walking stick in his right hand. He peers up at the pediment, as if examining the boxing match. To the right, an unbearded youth swaddled from neck to ankle in a blue mantle stands somewhat apart from the monument.


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought from Athens.); December 1901: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund