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Ribbed loutrophoros, attributed to the Painter of the Louvre Bottle


Height: 78.800 cm

Bequeathed by Sir William Temple

GR 1856.12-26.10 (Vases F 560)

Room 73: Greeks in Italy

    Ribbed loutrophoros, attributed to the Painter of the Louvre Bottle

    Greek, about 320-300 BC
    Made in Apulia (modern Puglia); from Fasano in Apulia, Italy

    Gnathia ware

    Gnathia ware is named after the Apulian town of Gnathia (Egnazia) where vases showing this technique were first identified. Though it may have originated there, it was soon made in several centres of southern Italy and Sicily. The technique relied on the application of added colour, principally white, yellow and red, to enliven the surface of a black-glaze vase. Compared with the ornateness of such contemporary Apulian red-figured vases as the 'Hamilton Vase', a volute-krater (wine bowl) attributed to the Baltimore Painter, Gnathia wares seem remarkably restrained and elegant.

    This tall vase or loutrophoros is both extremely finely made and exceptionally elaborate in its decoration. The body is meticulously ribbed, with a reserved band left slightly below the widest point for a scrolling floral design in white and yellow. The moulded petals around the base are echoed by those surrounding the bud of the lid knob, on top of which perches a long-tailed bird. Scrolls and flowers form the handles.

    The Painter of the Louvre Bottle was one of the leding painters working in the Gnathia technique: he is named from a finely potted and decorated ribbed bottle now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

    D. Williams, Greek vases (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

    L. Burn, The British Museum book of G-1, revised edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)