Magna Graecia, Southern Italy, Campania, ca. 325 BCE. A black-glazed pottery guttos (oil pouring vessel) of a characteristically squat rounded form with a single trumpet-shaped spout, a looped handle attached to the shoulder, and a central roundel atop molded in very fine relief with the head of Medusa, the snake haired mythical woman whose mere gaze could transform onlookers to stone! Renderings of Medusa by the ancients were traditionally used to ward off evil, and throughout the ages, Medusa has been immortalized in countless works of art. Some of you may be familiar with the dramatic interpretations by Caravaggio, Rubens, Cellini, Bernini, Lalique, Canova, and the list goes on. These artists of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical eras were inspired by ancient renderings of Medusa like the one depicted here. A guttos like this example would have been used by the ancients for holding precious oil to fill oil lamps. Size: 5.875" W x 4.75" H (14.9 cm x 12.1 cm)
Provenance: private Carlton collection, Los Angeles, California, USA, acquired between 1965 and 1980
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