Magna Graecia, Southern Italy, Apulia, Canosan, ca. late 4th century to early 3rd century BCE. A stunning funerary patera featuring a mold-made handle representing a nude male Atlas figure with upraised arms supporting two horses, their full though miniature forms in profile, as well as the bowl form above - rather than the sky he supports in classic mythology. Custom stand. Size: 17.25" L x 10.25" W (43.8 cm x 26 cm); 18.25" H (46.4 cm) on stand.
Atlas was the Titan who was forced to hold the sky on his shoulders for eternity. As such Atlantes (the plural of Atlas) are the male version of Caryatids (female figural columns or pillars, the most famous examples found at the Erechtheion on the Acropolis in Athens). As opposed to the seemingly effortless task of Caryatids, Atlantes typically express an extreme exertion of energy with heads bent forward and muscles bulging in order to support the weight of the structure above.
A similar example sold at Bonhams 25 November 1998, lot 92
Provenance: Ex-private collection of James Farmer, Maryland, collected from major galleries and auction houses between 1995 and 2005
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