- Museum number
Pottery: black-figured amphora, gigantomachy. Designs black on the red body of the vase, with rich accessories of white and purple; patterns on the dresses partly incised, partly painted; rows of white dots frequent. On the neck, double honeysuckle pattern. Below the designs, bands of zigzags, lotus-buds, and maeander.
(a) Gigantomachia: In the centre a quadriga to right, the third horse white, the others black; Zeus is stepping into the chariot and holds the reins in left hand, while brandishing a thunderbolt in right; he is bearded, and wears a short striped embroidered chiton and cuirass. In the chariot is Heracles, on the further side of Zeus, with left foot put forward on the pole; he wears a short embroidered chiton and the lion's skin, with quiver at his back, hung from a cross-belt, and is in the act of shooting an arrow from his bow. At the further side of the quadriga is Athene to right, with long tresses, high-crested helmet, long diapered chiton, the patterns partly incised, partly painted, aegis with fringe of snakes, and purple breastplate, probably for the Gorgoneion, shield with device of a tripod; she thrusts with spear at a fallen giant (probably Enkelados). Three giants (Enkelados, Hyperbios, and Ephialtes) are opposed to the deities. Enkelados has fallen to right underneath the horses; he has a lofty visored helmet, cuirass, short embroidered chiton, and greaves, and tries to defend himself with shield and a white stone grasped in left hand. The other two advance to his rescue, thrusting with spears; the first has a visored helmet, cuirass, embroidered chiton and greaves, the second a lofty helmet, short striped chiton and chlamys, both embroidered, parameridia, greaves, and shield with device of an ivy-wreath. On the left is Hera to left, with long tresses, fillet, and long diapered chiton with diploidion, plunging a sword into the neck of a giant whom she has beaten down on one knee to left; she holds him by the helmet with left hand, and plants her right foot on his right leg. The giant (who may be Harpolycos) is bearded and wears a visored helmet, short embroidered chiton, cuirass, parameridia, and greaves; he is looking back.
(b) Dionysos and Ariadne: In the centre, Dionysos to right, bearded, with long tresses, ivy-wreath, long embroidered chiton and striped himation, vine-branch in right hand, keras (animal horn) in left; facing him is Ariadne, with long tresses, fillet, long embroidered chiton and himation, in right hand an oinochoe. Behind Dionysos is a Maenad to right dancing, with long tresses, fillet, long embroidered chiton and pardalis (leopard skin), and behind her a Satyr to right, with left hand raised; behind Ariadne two Satyrs dancing in grotesque attitudes; all three have long hair.
- Production date
- 520BC-500BC (circa)
Diameter: 17 centimetres
Height: 26.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This amphora is not specifically the work of the Lysippides Painter but rather was decorated in the same manner.
The theme of the Gigantomachy was a popular one in Athenian black figure vases beginning in the second quarter of the 6th century BC. The Gigantomachy represents the epic battle between the Olympians and the Gigantes. Different sections of the myth are recounted by various ancient sources but the battle is described in its entirety in Pseudo-Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca (Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, I.61-2).
Large quantities of Greek vases were imported into ancient Etruria with a great many being found in the 19th century, particularly when tombs were opened up in the extensive necropoleis at Vulci, the source of this amphora. At the time, these fine Greek vases were thought to be Etruscan and much of the interior décor and pottery which they inspired was called ‘Etruscan’. Ironically much of the truly Etruscan pottery, a great deal of it bucchero, was trampled underfoot during these ‘excavations’ as it did not have sufficient monetary value.
[M. Bergeron in Bruschetti et al 2014, III.77]
BM Cat. Vases
Roscher, p. 1655; Overbeck, Kunstmyth. (Zeus), p. 344, Atlas, pl. 4, No. 3; Mayer, Gig. u. Titan, pp. 293, 328; Bull. dell’ Inst. 1839, p. 22.
For Hera on side A, cf. Overbeck, Atlas, iv. 8. For the subject of side A, cf. Overbeck, Kunstmyth. (Zeus), pp. 339-398, Atlas, iv.-v; Él. Cér. i. 1-11; Mayer, Giganten und Titanen, passim; Roscher, p. 1654; Baumeister, p. 594. For the subject of side B, cf. Vases Β179 and Β181.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2014 Mar 22-30 Sep, Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca e della Citta di Cortona, ' La Gran Bretagna e gli Etruschi '
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number