Black-figured water-jar (hydria) with mythical and real scenes

Etruscan, about 510-500 BC
From Vulci, ancient Etruria (now in Lazio, Italy)

A kicking centaur

The Etruscans not only imported Greek pottery, but also copied the techniques of Greek vase-painting. This black-figured vase is an Etruscan product, and is one of the few that can be attributed to an individual hand. The painter is known as the Micali Painter, the name deriving from Guiseppe Micali (1769-1841), a pioneering scholar of Etruscan archaeology.

The vase is decorated with a mixture of mythological and real scenes. On the shoulder is a scene of the laying out of the dead, with attendants making gestures of mourning as they approach the bier carrying clothes. By the side of the bier a pair of boots and a pair of sandals rest on a low table. The neck of the vase shows a mythical figure, with wings springing rather oddly from his waist. On the body a centaur kicks out towards a winged horse. The centaur is represented with the front legs of a human rather than a horse, a characteristic of early Greek and Etruscan art.

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More information


N. J. Spivey, The Micali Painter and his fol (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1987)

E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

J.D. Beazley, Etruscan vase-painting (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1947)


Height: 41.000 cm

Museum number

GR 1836.2-24.159 (Vases B 63)


Durand Collection


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