Apulian Red-Figure Bell Krater - PF.2495
Origin: Magna Graecia
Circa: 400 BC to 200 BC
Dimensions: 15.75" (40.0cm) high x 16.75" (42.5cm) wide
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Greek
Style: Apulian
Medium: Terracotta


Created in one of the Greek colonies of southern Italy (called Magna Graecia), this vessel comes from the eastern region known in antiquity as Apulia. This beautiful bell krater reveals the extraordinary artistic sensibilities of the western Greeks, for it reflects their successful assimilation of the native Greek artistic styles with the local non-Greek artistic tastes and techniques. Stunning imagery painted on the body of the bell krater also reveals the mythological inspirations that manifested themselves in vases such as this. On one side of the bell krater we see the standing figure of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility, wearing a white ribbon, or fillet, in his hair and a cape draped over his arms. In his left hand he holds a large shallow cup, or phiale, while his right hand grasps a thyrsos, a staff decorated with vine leaves that terminates in a pinecone. Standing at the left of Dionysus is a graceful maenad wearing a peplos, jewelry and a kekryphalos, a cloth that binds her hair, leaving some hair projecting from the back in ponytail fashion. She too grasps a thyrsos in one hand while the other hand holds a cista, a horizontal striped box. Surrounding the pair are artistically arranged small plants, ribbons and rosettes. The reverse side of the bell krater depicts two draped men facing each other, each holding a walking stick. Between them stands a pedestal while a pair of jumping weights hangs in the area above. Decorations in the form of palmettes under the handles, a meander pattern interrupted by check squares on the lower body of the vessel and a leaf pattern under the rim further embellish the ornamented quality of this vase. Bands of red define the base and rim of the bell krater and at the same time unify the overall design. The artistic achievements of the south Italian craftsmen are clearly evident in this vase; its beauty of form and decoration are a testament to a people who adapted to new surroundings while at the same time retained their artistic roots. - (PF.2495)



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