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: An Attic Red-Figure Volute Krater


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
In ancient Greece, the production of painted ceramic vessels reached its apogee in Athenian workshops of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. Although The Minneapolis Institute of Arts possesses two fine black-figure vases,1 the Attic red-figure technique, which largely superseded black-figure by the end of the sixth century, was not well represented in the collection2 until the recent accession of a handsome volute krater, made in Athens between 460 and 450 B.C.3Kraters were used to mix wine with water and thus served as the centerpieces at lively drinking parties (symposia). The ancient name of the volute krater is unknown, but scholars have seen in its coiled handles an echo of the volutes (scroll-like ornaments) on Ionic capitals. The volute krater shape is relatively uncommon, though not rare, accounting for only a small percentage of the many thousands of known Attic vases. Among the earliest—and best—surviving Attic volute kraters is the black-figure “François Vase” of about 565 B.C., one of the great monuments of archaic Greek art.4 Nearly two hundred other Attic black-figure volute kraters are known, most of them fragmentary and the majority dating to the last twenty years of the sixth century.5 About forty red-figure examples have been attributed to various archaic painters, such as Euphronios,6 but the true heyday of the volute krater is the Early Classical Period of the second quarter of the fifth century, when Spina, Felsina (Bologna), and other Italian towns trading in the Adriatic developed a particular fondness for them.7 By the fourth century, red-figure volute kraters were no longer produced in mainland Greece, but had reached the height of their popularity in the Apulian vases of South Italy.8The basic components of the volute krater remained essentially unchanged over time: flanged handles rising from cylindrical arches on the shoulder to coil atop the rim; a fairly flat shoulder and wide neck; the mouth divided into two or more zones, evoking an ensemble of cornice and frieze. The François Vase is nearly as wide as it is tall, and later black-figure examples are only slightly more slender. The Berlin Painter's “kingly” red-figure krater in London, with a 4:3 height-to-width ratio, represents perhaps the most perfect formal balance achieved in the evolution of the shape.9 The canonical early Classical type is more slender, nearly half again as tall as it is wide, with a correspondingly narrower mouth. The Minneapolis krater is of this type, but its fluid lines and rational proportions distinguish it from many of its more mannered contemporaries. Its closest parallels are found among works by the Group of the Niobid Painter,10 although none has quite the same combination of tall neck and simple, bifurcated rim.Although the Institute's vase is signed by neither potter nor painter, the figure decoration has been attributed to an artist whom Sir John Beazley named the Methyse Painter,11 after a maenad (female follower of Dionysos) on a bell krater in New York.12 Beazley attributed twelve vases, none a volute krater, to the Methyse Painter, and thought that another five were probably also by him.13 Dietrich von Bothmer has since added to the corpus an unpublished volute krater in Ancona, which differs from the Minneapolis vase in profile, ornament, and the use of white ground on the neck.14 Adrienne Lezzi-Hafter recognized the painter's hand on a kalpis (water jug) formerly on the art market in Switzerland and also believes him responsible for an oinochoe (pitcher) in a Swiss private collection.15The Methyse Painter favored kraters and other large shapes, but eschewed cups and amphorae. In his preferences, he followed a more prolific associate known as the Chicago Painter, who like the Methyse Painter was strongly influenced by the Villa Giulia Painter.16 Fragments of a volute krater painted by the latter are preserved in Halle,17 but its profile cannot be reconstructed for comparison. The same holds true for the fragments of a volute krater in Leningrad by the Chicago Painter,18 but this other complete example, in Ferrara,19 with its slender body and enormous foot, demonstrates the variety possible within a single workshop.The Minneapolis vase, like the Methyse Painter's Ancona krater, has a zone of fifty “rays” above the fillet separating the body from the foot. The latter is in two degrees, with a rounded profile and reserved riser. At the base of the figure frieze is a band consisting of groups of three maeanders alternating with saltires. On the shoulder, at the base of the neck, a band of black “tongues” extends from handle to handle on either side. Unlike most Early Classical volute kraters, the neck is painted black, a feature adding cadence to the decorative scheme and recalling the austere grandeur of the Berlin Painter's Triptolemos krater in Karlsruhe.20 The mouth is in two degrees, with a wide lotus-and-palmette frieze supporting a row of “eggs” on the edge of the rim. A band of eggs surrounds the root of each handle, as on the artist's name-vase.21 The handle ornament, with vines of ivy on each flange and the interstices painted red, is canonical for volute kraters of the period.22On the obverse of the vase—the side with more detailed decoration—the lotus-and-palmette chain is doubled, with each addorsed floral pair adjoining a common tendril.23 On the reverse, there is a single row of larger lotuses and palmettes, with the latter segregated in encircling tendrils.24 The division of the vase into two sides is further accentuated by the placement of a “palmette tree” under each handle.25 This type of palmette, in which the tendril emerges from the baseline to spiral upward in an asymmetrical manner, is not otherwise employed by the Methyse Painter, but is common on the stamnoi (wine jars) of the Chicago Painter.26 Its appearance on a volute krater is unusual.27Dionysos appears amid his entourage of satyrs and maenads on the obverse of the vase. The scene is a very common one, both in red-figure and black-figure wares. Unlike the artist's New York and Ancona kraters, where the woozy wine god leans heavily on a bearded “midget-satyr,” Dionysos here strides forward unassisted, turning back for a drink from his two-handled kantharos. A head taller than his followers, the god wears a long linen chiton and a woolen himation. Long corkscrew tresses fall across the pleated garments, and a crown of ivy mirrors the leafy thyrsos in his hand.28 Before him, a satyr brandishing a lyre wheels about to touch his master's arm. His goggle-eyed expression, rendered in three-quarter view,29 suggests that he is too drunk to play his instrument. The source of the satyr's inebriation is the wineskin flung about by the chiton-clad maenad at right, who kicks up her heels in ecstatic dance. She wears an ivy wreath and has her hair tied up in back with a white fillet. A similar coiffure is affected by the maenad at left, who with one hand holds a thyrsos and with the other clutches the leg of the little satyr-boy riding on her shoulders. The fawnskin she wears over her chiton is the remnant of some nocturnal hunt, when she and her sisters coursed through the hills in a bacchic frenzy, tearing to pieces the creatures that crossed their path. A maenad on the Methyse Painter's Louvre stamnos wears a similar skin,30 but the figures closest in spirit and detail are the maenads on his fragmentary dinos (a type of globular krater) from Spina.31 Our statuesque bacchante, with her flowing chiton and hooded eyes, could join the Spina procession unnoticed, equipped even with identical thyrsos and fawnskin.The maenad with the fawnskin is representative of the many women adorning the vases of the Methyse Painter and imparting to his scenes of genre, myth, and bacchic cult a quiet elegance that foretells the coming of the Classical style. For pure quality of line, however, the maenad is surpassed by the satyr following her at the end of the procession. Lithe yet muscular, his eyes and cheeks bulging dramatically, he sets the tune for the dance on his double flute (aulos). Like the satyr with the lyre, the piper wears a thick white headband stuffed with straw or flowers,32 and his penis is infibulated to keep out dirt and prevent an untimely erection.Of all the figures in the procession, the most intriguing is the little boy, whose balding pate, pointed ears, and stubby tail are proof of his membership in the libidinous fraternity of satyrs. The stature of the bearded “midget-satyrs” on the Methyse Painter's New York and Ancona kraters may have been dictated by their role as props for the drunken Dionysos,33 but this little fellow is clearly a child. Child satyrs are not mentioned in ancient literature, but they are represented on more than a hundred Athenian vases of the fifth century.34 One of the earliest (490-480 B.C.) is “Flying Angel,” the name Beazley gave to the satyr-boy on an amphora in Boston, the name-vase of the Flying Angel Painter.35 Here it is not a maenad, but an adult satyr who gives the boy a lift, the better to see the large model phallus carried by the satyr on the reverse.36 The father-son relationship implied here is strengthened by other scenes of adult satyrs holding or preparing to hold satyr-boys. On a cup in Berlin, and on a white-ground alabastron (ointment bottle) in Basel, the child is clearly a toddler, whose father holds him out for the face-to-face inspection of which new fathers are so fond. This parental pride is emphasized on both vases by the words ho pais kalos (“the boy is handsome”), a very common vase inscription that seldom relates to the scene it accompanies, but which here takes on real meaning.37If these satyrs are parent and child, we may wonder if the maenad and satyr-boy on the Minneapolis vase share a similar relationship. Female satyrs are exceedingly rare38 and, indeed, would have been superfluous amid so many nymphs and maenads. Hesiod declared that the satyrs were the brothers of the mountain nymphs,39 which is rather inconvenient when we consider their later amorous relations. The result of their liaisons is clearly stated in a fragment of an anonymous satyr-play about Oineus, in which the satyr chorus announces, “We are the children of nymphs.”40 By the mid-sixth century, the nymphai on the François Vase and other early vases depicting the followers of Dionysos were largely supplanted by females wearing skins, carrying snakes and thyrsoi, and dancing about in wine-crazed ecstasy. These “maenads,” or bakchai, can be called “nymphs” only in the broadest sense of the word.41 They are pursued relentlessly by satyrs and frequently molested, but though often caught, are seldom depicted in full submission.42 By the early fifth century, the maenads often vigorously resist their pursuers,43 but the child satyrs and satyr “families” that begin to appear at this time indicate that artists did not imagine the maenads to be always effective in their resistance.We have seen a satyr-boy carried by a satyr,44 but although human children are occasionally shown riding on the backs of their mothers or other women,45 the pairing of maenad and satyr-boy is apparently unique. One of the maenads on a volute krater in Bologna carries a child in this way, but the boy has none of the characteristics of a satyr.46 The Bologna child is part of a procession accompanying the return to Olympos of Hephaistos, god of fire,47 and thus, like the Minneapolis satyr-boy, he is not threatened by dismemberment, the fate awaiting the infant on the bronze Derveni krater, and his counterpart on a pyxis (toilet box) in London.48 The maenads who fling these little boys about so carelessly have been crazed by Dionysos. In the Bacchae, Euripides tells how the Theban women snatched babies from the houses of Hysiae and Erythrae and were later cleansed of blood by miraculous fountains and licking snakes.49 The Bologna maenad, however, seems more akin to the bacchante described by Nonnus in his Dionysiaca:
Another snatched from the father a three-year-old child/And set it upon her shoulder, untrembling, unshaken, unbound,/Balancing the boy in the wind's charge—there he sat laughing, never falling in the dust.50
The Minneapolis satyr-boy seems quite happy on his perch; he is no kidnapped Erythraean. Perhaps, like the Villa Giulia Painter, whose satyr family in Karlsruhe includes a satyr-boy and a white-haired Pappasilenos,51 the Methyse Painter was inspired by a contemporary satyr play that included in its cast or chorus a mischievous little satyr. That the artist was familiar with the costumes and characters of satyric drama is demonstrated by his bell krater from the Athenian Acropolis, which features a Pappasilenos attired in the wooly white bodysuit (mallotos chiton) worn by actors in this role.52The scene on the reverse of the krater shows a maenad accosted by two satyrs and is clearly related to the procession on the front.53 Reverse scenes usually contain fewer figures and are often painted in a more summary manner. In this case, there are fewer pleats in the chiton of the maenad, whose pinwheel pose, with open palm and backward glance, reflects the influence of the Villa Giulia Painter.54 A certain carelessness is evident in the contours of the satyr at left, but the head is wonderful, with its long straight hair and the face showing a comical look of lust.The satyr to the right is executed with unusual care, with the ribcage described in dilute glaze and the padded fillet covered with parallel rows of dots. His knitted brows and deep frown make this satyr the most expressive of all his compatriots, but it is his stance—leaning back, with right leg extended and left leg bent, the chin resting on the breast—that is his most interesting feature. Satyrs in roughly similar postures appear on several Attic vases, nearly all of them dating to the second half of the fifth century. Bieber saw that one of these satyrs, on a dinos in Athens, wears the loincloth and mock phallus of a satyr-actor,55 and Bates noted others in this pose and costume in the Hope Collection and in the British Museum.56 From this evidence, it seems clear that this particular pose was derived from the sikinnis, the dance of the satyrs in the satyr drama.57 It was long ago noticed that a similar stance is assumed by the so-called Lateran Marsyas, a marble satyr in the Vatican.58 This statue is generally thought to be a Roman copy of a lost bronze by Myron, created around the middle of the fifth century B.C.Pliny the Elder included in his attributions to Myron a group of Athena and Marsyas, which has often been identified with a group that Pausanias saw on the Athenian Acropolis.59 The painting on an oinochoe in Berlin is frequently cited as reflecting the composition of Myron's group, with Athena throwing the rejected pipes before the startled satyr.60 The Berlin vase dates to about 430 B.C., when Myron was probably no longer active. The satyr on the Minneapolis vase is thus of great interest, not only for its similarity to the Lateran Marsyas, but also for its contemporaneity with Myron's sculpture. It is tempting to speculate that the Methyse Painter saw the Marsyas on the Acropolis and adopted its pose for his own satyr. If so, the Minneapolis satyr would provide important evidence for dating the original of the Vatican statue and would strengthen its association with Myron. As attractive as this theory is, however, it does nothing to counter Rhys Carpenter's persuasive argument that the anatomy and chiastic torsion of the Lateran Marsyas are too advanced for a mid-fifth-century date.61 We have seen that the stance of both the Minneapolis and Vatican satyrs was commonly employed by satyric actors. Bates may thus have been right in suggesting that the Lateran Marsyas was directly inspired by the satyr drama,62 and it would not be surprising if the Institute's satyr (and satyr-boy) were the result of a similar inspiration.Michael Padgett is an assistant in the Department of Classical Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and is completing a doctoral dissertation in the Department of Fine Arts at Harvard University.I am grateful to my wife, Judy, for her support in writing this paper, to Michael Conforti for asking me to write it, to William Heidrich, chief curator of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, for information about the vase's dimensions and the nature of the sketch and relief lines, and to Emily Vermeule, Dietrich von Bothmer, Mary Comstock, and Herbert Cahn, who read the initial draft of this article and shared with me their views on several of the vases mentioned here.Endnotes
  1. A neck amphora by the Painter of Vatican 359 (57.1), and a hydria by the Antimenes Painter (61.59). For the amphora, see J.D. Beazley, Paralipomena (Oxford, 1971), 59, 2; and Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 47, no. 3 (1958): 40-41. For the hydria, see Beazley, Paralipomena, 119, 8ter; and Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 51, no. 1 (1962): 8-11.
  2. The Institute has two other red-figure vases: an unpublished type-C kylix attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter (62.41), and a lekythos in the manner of the Meidias Painter (57.41.1). For the lekythos, see J.D. Beazley, Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painter, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1963) [hereafter ARV] 1326, 74; and C. Boulter, Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 48, no. 3 (1959): 14-15. The collection also includes three white-ground lekythoi, one of which (26.7) I attribute to the Carlsberg Painter; see Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 15, no. 10 (1926): 46.
  3. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Dayton, 83.80. Dimensions: Height with handles: 57.5 cm; height to rim: 50.5 cm; diameter at mouth: 34 cm; diameter at shoulder: 35.5 cm; diameter at foot: 19 cm. Ornament: The top of the rim is reserved, but the neck interior is completely glazed. The underside of the foot is reserved and has neither dipinti nor graffiti. Added white is restricted to the fillets of the obverse satyrs and maenads. There is no added red. Brown dilute glaze is used, in varying strengths, for the hair, beards, and tails of the satyrs, for the forehead curls and long tresses of Dionysos, and for the lower locks of the dancing maenad. A still more dilute golden glaze is used for the hair of the satyr-boy, the fawnskin, the pupils of Dionysos and the two obverse satyrs, and to indicate muscles, nipples, and body hair on the satyrs. Sketch lines are evident in most of the figures, in the lotus-and-palmette friezes, and in the palmette trees. Relief lines are used for most internal details of anatomy and drapery, and border each individual egg, tongue, trendril, and lotus. On the palmettes, only the central heart and ribbed central leaf are bordered by relief lines, while the wavy ivy vines on the handles have straight relief lines down the center. Condition: Except for a crack in one volute and some surface abrasion (most noticeable on the satyr with the lyre), the vase is in very good condition. The brown discoloration on Dionysos's himation is possibly due to an excessive application of yellow ochre.References: Photographs of the obverse have appeared in the “Centennial Accessions” insert in Arts (Minneapolis) 7, no. 3 (March 1984); “La Chronique des Arts,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 103 (March 1984): 20, fig. 126; and in The Art of Collecting (The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1986), 37.
  4. Florence, Museo Archeologico 4209; J.D. Beazley, Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters (Oxford, 1956) [hereafter ABV], 76, 1. For complete photographs of the newly-restored vase, see M. Cristofani, Materiali per servire alla storia del vaso François. Bolletino d'arte, serie speciale I (1980).
  5. For black-figure volute kraters, see K. Hitzl, Die entstehung und Entwicklung des Volutenkraters von den frühesten Anfangen des kanonischen Stils in der attisch schwarzfigurigen Vasenmalerei (Frankfurt and Bern, 1982). For corrections and additions to Hitzl, see the review by Dietrich von Bothmer in Gnomon 57 (1985): 66-71.
  6. For the Euphronios volute krater in Arezzo (Museo Civico 1465), see Beazley, ARV, 15, 6; J. Boardman, Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (Oxford, 1975), fig. 29.
  7. For Attic vases from Spina, see N. Alfieri and P.E. Arias, Spina, die neuentdeckte Etruskerstadt und die griechischen Vasen ihrer Grabber (Munich, 1958); and J.D. Beazley, Studi Etruschi, Suppl. 25 (1959), 47-57. For the vases from the Certosa necropolis at Felsina, see G. Pellegrini, Museo Civico de Bologna. Catalogo dei vasi delle necropole felsinee (Bologna, 1912).
  8. See A.D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou, The Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1978-1982).
  9. British Museum E 468; Beazley, ARV, 206, 132, and The Berlin Painter (Mainz, 1974) 6, pls. 29-31.
  10. For example, a pair from Spina by the Altamura Painter: Ferrara, Museo Nazionale T.381 VT and T.231 VT (Beazley, ARV, 589, 3 and 590, 10); Alfieri and Arias, Spina, 30-31, pls. 9 and 12-13.
  11. When Robert Guy saw the krater on the London market, he noted its resemblance to the style of the Methyse Painter but stopped short of an attribution. After its acquisition by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Dietrich von Bothmer examined detailed photographs of the vase and confirmed an attribution to the Methyse Painter (letter of 17 February 1984). In the author's opinion, the krater is an early work of about 460-55 B.C., contemporary with the dinos from Spina (Ferrara T.374; Beazley, ARV, 633, 10), and only slightly earlier than the New York krater.
  12. Metropolitan Museum of Art 07.286.85; Beazley, ARV 632,3; G. M. A. Richter and E. Hall, Red-Figured Athenian Vases in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New Haven, 1936), 140-42, pls. 109-110.
  13. Beazley, ARV, 632-34 and 1663; Paralipomena, 400.
  14. Ancona, Museo Civico, from Septempeda, San Severini. See D. von Bothmer, Amazons in Greek Art (Oxford, 1957), 144, no. 32, and 149; J. Mertens, Attic White Ground: Its Development on Shapes Other Than Lekythoi (New York, 1977), 124-25.
  15. Kalpis: Exhibited at the Swiss Art and Antiques Fair, Basel, 14-22 June 1980 (stand no. 35, checklist no. 107). The subject is an interior with three women. I am indebted to Herbert Cahn for photographs of this vase. Oinochoe: A. Lezzi-Hafter, Der Schuwalow-Maler, eine Kannenwerkstatt der Parthenonzeit (Mainz, 1976), 102, pl. 77, a-f and pl. 177, a-b. I have not seen the chous in Moscow (Pushkin Museum M 1360) that Cornelia Isler-Kerényi attributes to the Methyse Painter. A bell krater in a Melbourne private collection, formerly on the London market (Sotheby's, 5 July 182, no. 391; 12-13 December 1983, no. 315) is a poor, late work by the artist (attribution by R. Guy). A bell krater recently in the Paris market, with a seated woman playing a barbiton, is probably another late work from his hand.
  16. For the Chicago Painter, see Beazley, ARV, 628-31 and 1662-63; and Paralipomena, 399-400. For the Villa Giulia Painter, see Beazley, ARV 618-26 and 1662; and Paralipomena, 398-99.
  17. Halle University 92; Beazley, ARV, 620, 27; F. Brommer, Hephaistos, der Schmiedegott in der antiken Kunst (Mainz, 1978), pl. 5, 3.
  18. In the Hermitage, from Eltegen; Beazley, ARV, 628, 2; P. Ducati, Römische Mitteilungen 21 (1906), pls. 3-4.
  19. Ferrara, Museo Nazionale T.19 C VP; Beazley, ARV, 628, 1; Alfieri and Arias, Spina, 46-47, pls. 50-53.
  20. Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, 68.101; Beazley, Paralipomena, 344; E. Simon and M. Hirmer, Die griechischen Vasen (Munich, 1976), 110, pl. 142.
  21. It is unusual for bands of eggs to surround the handle roots of a volute krater, but this is common on stamnoi, such as Louvre G 410, by the Methyse Painter; Beazley, ARV, 633, 8; Corpus Vasorum Antiquorium [hereafter CVA] Louvre, 3, pl. 16, 6 and 9, and pl. 17, 1-3.
  22. Among the rare exceptions are the Methyse Painter's Ancona krater in Ancona by the Painter of Bologna 228, both of which have running spirals on the flanges. For the second krater, see Beazley, ARV, 511, 1; P. Marconi and L. Serra, Il Museo Nazionale delle Marche in Ancona (Rome, 1935) pl. 51.
  23. I know of no exact parallel. For a similar arrangement, but with the addorsed elements separated by distinct tendrils, cf. Ferrara T.381 VT (see note 10.)
  24. Cf, the obverse of Ferrara T.213 VT (see note 10), which has a similar “cornice” of eggs. On the Minneapolis vase, sketch lines in the center of the obverse lotus-and-palmette frieze closely resemble the pattern on the reverse, suggesting that the artist originally intended to put the simpler pattern on both sides. I owe this observation to William Heidrich.
  25. For palmette trees, see O. Jacobsthal, Ornamente griechischer Vasen (Berlin, 1927), 81-110.
  26. For example, his name-vase at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1889.22. See Beazley, ARV, 628, 4; W. Moon, ed., Greek Vase-Painting in Midwestern Collections (Art Institute of Chicago, 1979), 197-99, no. 111.
  27. For a palmette-tree on a calyx krater, cf. Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 95.23, by the Fröhner Painter; Beazley, ARV, 510, 3; Jacobsthal, Ornamente, pl. 61, b. A new example of this relatively rare type appears on an unpublished calyx krater in the Museo Archeologico in Agrigento, here attributed to the Tyszkiewicz Painter.
  28. The thyrsos is a long fennel stalk, topped with ivy, that is carried by Dionysos and his followers. The thyrsoi on the Minneapolis vase are like the one on the reverse of the Methyse Painter's Louvre stamnos (see note 21). For the clusters of berries amid the leaves, cf. the thyrsos on the artist's name-vase.
  29. The type of lyre carried by the satyr is called a barbiton and was apparently the variety favored for Bacchic revels and merrymaking in general. See D. Kurtz and J. Boardman, “Booners,” Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 3 (Malibu, 1986): 62-64. The satyr's gesture is similar to that of a satyr on a bell krater in Nauplia, which Beazley thought was “probably” by the Methyse Painter; Beazley, ARV, 633, 1. Foreshortened faces such as the satyr's are rare before the mid-fifth century. A satyr with barbiton is rendered in this manner on an oinochoe in Boston by the Chicago Painter (Museum of Fine Arts 13.197; Beazley, ARV, 630, 37; Lezzi-Hafter, Schuwalow-Maler, 101, pl. 73, a-b) and on an amphora in New York by the Oionokles Painter (Metropolitan Museum 09.221.41; Beazley, ARV, 646, 6; Richter and Hall, Red-Figured Athenian Vases, pl. 32, no. 33). The Chicago and Methyse Painters may have learned the trick from the Villa Giulia Painter, who paints one of the daughters of Pelias in this way on a kalpis in Cambridge (Fitzwilliam Museum 12.17; Beazley, ARV, 623, 66; E.M.W. Tillyard, The Hope Vases [Cambridge, 1923], pl. 15, no. 109).
  30. See note 21. The Louvre fawnskin is dappled, while this one is painted brown with dilute glaze.
  31. Ferrara, Museo Nazionale T.373 VT; Beazley, ARV, 633, 10; Alfieri and Arias, Spina 46, pls. 45-49.
  32. See J.D. Beazley, Journal of Hellenic Studies 66 (1946): 11.
  33. This is how Eldridge explained the similarly employed midget-satyrs on a pelike in Munich (Beazley, ARV, 1145, 36) and a bell krater formerly in the Hamilton Collection (Beazley, ARV, 1061, 157), but now in the British Museum following retrieval from the shipwreck Colossus (L.G. Eldridge, American Journal of Archaeology 21 [1917]: 47). Although compositional expediency can account for most midget-satyrs, on at least three vases a little bearded satyr is represented in a manner and context that leave little doubt he is a child: (1) Boston 00.351 (Beazley, ARV, 723, 1); (2) Athens 12139 (Beazley, ARV 833, 40 and 1672); (3) London E 66 (Beazley, ARV, 808, 2).
  34. Unfortunately space does not allow a complete list. Child satyrs are briefly discussed by J.D. Beazley, Attic Red-Figure Vases in American Collections (Cambridge, Mass., 1918), 57; F. Brommer, Satyroi (Würzburg, 1937), 24, 56; F. Brommer, Satyrspiele. Bilder griechischer Vasen, 2nd ed. (Berlin, 1959), 38-44; K. Schauenburg, “Dionysiaka,” in Charites. Studien zum Altertumswissenschaft (Bonn, 1957), 170-71. In the fourth century, there was a shift to a more youthful, beardless Dionysos and a concomitant favoring of beardless young satyrs. In the fifth century, however, young satyrs are an anomaly in need of explanation.
  35. Museum of Fine Arts 98.882; Beazley, ARV, 279, 7; L. D. Caskey and J. D. Beazley, Attic Vase Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 3 (Boston, 1963): 16-17, pl. 82.
  36. Beazley was surely correct in identifying this as the phallus carried in the procession of the Rural Dionysia (Caskey and Beazley, Attic Vase Paintings, 17), but his suggestion that Flying Angel and his “father” were substitutes for real Athenian spectators can be improved on by comparing the figures on a black-figure cup in Florence (Museo Archeologico 3897; L. Deubner, Attische Feste [Berlin, 1932], pl. 22). On the cup, the satyr and his diminutive (but not satyric) rider accompany the phallus as it is borne along. The Boston pair are thus not spectators, but costumed participants in the sacred procession, satyr-actors who, at the same festival, will soon be taking their antics into the theater.
  37. Cup: Berlin, Staatliche Museen 2550; CVA, 2, pl. 94, 47. Alabastron: Basel, collection of Herbert Cahn (HC 542); H. 13.8 cm; unattributed. I am grateful to Dr. Cahn for giving me photographs of this vase and allowing me to publish them. The fragment with a satyr leaning on a stick was published in Hesperia Art Bulletin, no. 19, fig. 120, and was identified by Dietrich von Bothmer as joining Dr. Cahn's vase. Other vases depicting a child satyr about to ascend into a parent's arm include Boston 00.351 (see note 33); University of Leipzig T 527 (Beazley, ARV, 1258); and H. Cahn, HC 156 (Dionysos-Griechische Antiken [Ingelheim and Rhein, 1965], no. 73.
  38. The only evidence of which I am aware for female satyrs in Attic vase painting is a pointed-eared maenad on a krater in London (Beazley, ARV, 1061, 157; see note 33) and a maenad in Vienna identified as “Satyra” (Kunsthistorisches Museum 1772; Beazley, ARV, 1072, 1). It is noteworthy that the London maenad is accompanied by a midget-satyr, the Vienna maenad by a satyr-boy. Perhaps the painter of the Vienna vase was thinking of the Athenian hetaira Satyra, an associate of Themistocles (Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 13.576.c).
  39. Quoted by Strabo, 10.3.19.
  40. Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 8.1083, Fr. 1.
  41. A woman with Dionysos on a pointed amphora by the Copenhagen Painter is labeled NYNPHAIA, which could be a proper name (British Museum E 350; Beazley, ARV, 256, 2).
  42. Cf. University of Würzburg, Martin von Wagner Museum 252; Beazley, ABV, 315, 1; and above all, Würzburg 492; Beazley, ARV, 1512, 18.
  43. This change in character is traced by S. McNally, Arethusa 11 (1978), 101-35.
  44. In addition to Flying Angel, satyr-boys are carried by satyrs on a column krater in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (50.8.31; Beazley, ARV 540; CVA 1, pl. 41) and on an unpublished krater in Naples (Santangelo 638; Eldridge, American Journal of Archaeology [1917]: 44, note 20), while on the Niobid Painter's Altamura krater in London, full-grown satyrs are carried in a game of catch-ball (British Museum E 467; Beazley, ARV, 601, 23; Brommer, Satyrspiele, 41, fig. 37). The same ball game is apparently underway on a black-figure lekythos in Athens, but in that case it is human youths who ride the satyrs (Kerameikos Museum, 8259; U. Knigge, Kerameikos IX [1976], pl. 35, no. 183). The boy riding a young satyr in a late Hellenistic marble group in the Vatican (Helbig, 533) is neither human nor satyr, but the infant Dionysos (H. Walters, Griechische Gutter [Munich, 1979], pl. 237).
  45. For instance, on a white-ground lekythos by the Timokrates Painter (Athens 12771; Beazley, ARV, 743, 1; CVA, 1, pl. 3, 3 and 5).
  46. Bologna, Museo Civico 283; Beazley, ARV, 1151, 1; CVA, 4, pl. 69, 6.
  47. Satyr-boys appear on at least five vases depicting the return of Hephaistos: a stamnos in Kassel (Hessisches Landesmuseum T 682; Beazley, Paralipomena, 445, 7 bis; CVA 1, pl. 34, 1); a chous in New York (Metropolitan Museum 08.258.22; Beazley, ARV 1249, 12; a skyphos in Toledo (Toledo Museum of Art 82.88; CVA, 2, pls. 84-7); a column krater in Ferrara (Museo Nazionale 5012, T.131A; L. Massei, Gli Askoi a figure rosse nei corredi funerari delle Necropoli di Spina [Milan, 1978]: pl. 10, 1); and a calyx krater in Agrigento (Museo Archeologico, c. 187; Beazley, ARV, 1347). The composition on the Los Angeles column krater mentioned above (see note 44) strongly suggests that Hephaistos was the rider of the donkey at left.
  48. The Derveni krater is in the Thessaloniki Museum. See G. Bakalakis, The Gilt Bronze Krater from Derveni (Athens, 1972). The pyxis is British Museum E 775; Beazley, ARV, 1328, 92; H.B. Walters, History of Ancient Pottery (New York, 1905), 142, fig. 131.
  49. Bacchae 751-54; 767-68.
  50. Dionysiaca 45.294-97; translated by H.J. Rose (Loeb Classical Library, 1940).
  51. Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, 208 (B3); Beazley, ARV, 618, 3; CVA 1, pl. 19. Pappasilenos was an older, and thus white-haired, satyr who functioned as the chief satyric protagonist in a satyr play.
  52. Athens, Acropolis 751; Beazley, ARV, 633, 4; B. Graef and E. Langlotz, Die antiken Vasen von der Akropolis zu Athens, 2 (Berlin, 1925-33): pl. 64. A horizontal line at the ankle marks the edge of the suit and shows that a costumed actor is represented.
  53. A similar scene occupies the reverse of the artist's New York krater (see note 12), as well as the obverse of a column krater in Rome by the Villa Giulia Painter (Villa Giulia 3589; Beazley, ARV, 628, 3; CVA, 1, pl. 9, 3-4).
  54. For example, cf. the running women on the reverse of Karlsruhe 208 (see note 51). Cf. also the maenad under handle A/B of the Methyse Painter's New York krater (see note 12).
  55. Athens 13027; Beazley, ARV, 1180, 2; Bieber, Athenische Mitteilungen 36 (1911), 269-77, pl. 13.
  56. W. N. Bates, American Journal of Archaeology 20 (1916): 394. See Tillyard, Hope Vases, 79-81, no. 136. The identification of this figure as a satyr-actor is proved not only by the loincloth, but also by the small stage platform on which he stands. The present location of this vase is unknown (last seen over forty years ago on the Paris market). The British Museum vase is a krater by the Niobid Painter (see note 44). Their horns show that these are not satyrs but panes.
  57. On kraters in Oxford (Ashmolean 1937.983; Beazley, ARV, 1153, 13) and Gotha (Gotha Museum 75; Beazley, ARV, 1334, 19) satyrs assume this posture in scenes that Beazley believed were inspired by Aischylos's satyr-play Prometheus Pyrphoros (J.D. Beazley, American Journal of Archaeology 43 [1939]: 618-39, pls. 13-14). Another, nearly identical pair of satyrs on stamnoi in Florence (Museo Archeologico 4227; Beazley, ARV, 1028, 11) and Lugano (private collection) are linked by Isler-Kerényi to a satyr-play featuring Herakles (C. Isler-Kerényi, Stamnoi [Lugano, 1976], 83-88). Their counterpart on a chous in Athens enlivens a scene perhaps based on the Amymone, another Aischylean satyr-play (Lexicon Iconographcium Mythologiae Classicae 1, pl. 598, 13).
  58. See Bates, American Journal of Archaeology 20 (1916): 395, note 1; and Tillyard, Hope Vases, 80. The Lateran Marsyas in Museo Gregoriano Profano 9974; see G. Daltrop, Il Gruppo mironiano di Athena e Marsia nei Musei Vaticani (Vatican City, 1980).
  59. Pliny, Natural History, 34.57; Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.24.1.
  60. Staatliche Museen F 2418. G.M.A. Richter is but one of many who have drawn the parallel (The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks [New Haven, 1929], 207, fig. 587).
  61. R. Carpenter, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 18 (1941), 5-8.
  62. W. N. Bates, American Journal of Archaeology 20 (1916): 395, note 1.
Referenced Works of Art
  1. Red-Figure Volute Krater
    Attributed to the Methyse Painter
    Greek, Athenian, about 560-550 B.C.
    Slip-glazed earthenware
    The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Dayton, 83.80
  2. Detail: reverse
  3. Detail: side
  4. Detail: side
  5. Red-Figure Bell Krater
    Attributed to the Methyse Painter
    Greek, Athenian, about 450 B.C.
    Slip-glazed earthenware
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art Rogers Fund, 07.286.85
  6. Detail of figure 1:
    Satyr and maenad carrying a satyr-boy
  7. Red-Figure Amphora
    Attributed to the Flying Angel Painter
    Greek, Athenian, about 490-480 B.C.
    Slip-glazed earthenware
    The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    H. L. Pierce Fund, 98.882
  8. White-Ground Alabastron
    Greek, Athenian, about 480-470 B.C.
    Slip-glazed earthenware
    Herbert Cahn Collection, Basel, HC 542
  9. Detail of Figure 2: Satyr
  10. The Lateran Marsyas
    Roman, 2nd century A.D.
    Rome, Museo Gregoriano Profano, 9974
    Photo: Scala/Art Resource, N.Y.
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Source: Michael J. Padgett, "An Attic Red-Figure Volute Krater," The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 66 (1983-1986): 66-77.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009