An Attic black-figure amphora (Type B)
Lot 79*
An Attic black-figure amphora (Type B)
Sold for £68,750 (US$ 91,895) inc. premium

Antiquities

28 Nov 2017, 10:30 GMT

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
An Attic black-figure amphora (Type B) An Attic black-figure amphora (Type B) An Attic black-figure amphora (Type B)
An Attic black-figure amphora (Type B)
Attributed to Group E, circa 540 B.C.
Side A with Herakles in combat with the Nemean lion, the hero depicted nude, Athena standing to the left wearing a high-crested helmet and a long peplos, holding a lance towards the hero, Iolaos standing to the right, wearing a Corinthian helmet and greaves, a long scythe in his hand, side B with a similar scene, with a band of linked lotus buds above each scene, a red band around the neck, another running beneath each scene and encircling the lower belly, a band of rays above the foot, details in added red, small holes on the neck for ancient repair, 42cm high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    German art market.
    W. R. (1932-1991) collection, acquired in 1970s in Germany; and thence by inheritance to the H.-J. Gehrmann collection.
    with Galerie Günther Puhze, Freiburg (Kunst der Antike, Katalog 12, 1997, no. 182).
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 5 June 1999, lot 141.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 14 June 2000, lot 54.
    Private collection, Switzerland, acquired at the above sale.
    Beazley Archive no. 20477.

    Beazley identified the painters of Group E as 'a large and compact group which is very closely related to the work of the painter Exekias, though earlier..."E" alludes to the connection with Exekias; and group E is...the soil from which the art of Exekias springs' (J.D. Beazley in BSA, vol. 32, p. 3-4 as quoted in Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters, New York, 1978, p. 133). Exekias, the 'flower' of Group E (ibid., p. 143), is the acknowledged master of the black-figure technique. The work of both Exekias and Group E is characterised by a preference for mythological subjects, a sense of monumentality, and the use of added red. Boardman notes that Beazley later came to think that most of the vases attributed to Group E are actually by one hand, and himself states 'the artist or artists deserve our attention and some respect, more than we may naturally accord an anonymous group, since their work leads not only to Exekias...but [also] more painters of the second half of the century follow the lead of this group and Exekias than of Lydos or the Amasis Painter' (J. Boardman, Athenian Black Figure Vases, London, 1974, p. 56-7).

    Slaying the Nemean lion was Herakles's first Labour. He was said to have stunned the beast with his famous club, before using his immense strength to strangle it. After vanquishing the lion, the hero tried to skin it with his knife, but failed. Eventually Athena, watching Herakles's plight, advised him to use one of the lion's own claws and the pelt was duly recovered. Herakles is often depicted wearing this lionskin, which is symbolic of his enormous strength and valour. Athena is shown as an onlooker on the present lot, along with Iolaos, Herakles's nephew and companion.

    Herakles' struggle with the Nemean lion was a favoured subject of Group E, though amphora with this scene on both sides are rare. For another Type B Group E amphora with Herakles, the Nemean lion, Athena and Iolaos on both sides, see Museo Gregoriano Etrusco Vaticano, Vatican City, no. 354, Beazley Archive no. 310379.
Activities
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