Greece, Athens, ca. 5th century BCE. An impressive Attic black-figure kalpis, adorned with a panel featuring a satyr pursuing a maenad. In Greek mythology, the satyr was one of a Dionysian (Dionysos also Dionysus, Roman counterpart being Bacchus - god of wine, pleasure, ritual madness, ecstasy, and theatre) ensemble of companions, usually presenting equine ears and tails, permanent erections, the body of a man, and a bearded visage. They are best known for their seemingly insatiable sexual desires, and they loved chasing maenads - later known as nymphs - as we see in this scene. The kalpis is essentially a variant of a hydria with three handles which facilitated easy lifting and pouring. A wonderful example, and given its Dionysian iconography, ideal for any oenophile! Size: 6" W handlespan x 7" H (15.2 cm x 17.8 cm)
A dotted border, framed by striations, surrounds the saucy scene. Note how the vase painter went to great pains to communicate the action-packed drama. The satyr is presented in composite profile, so that we can at once understand his forward motion as he pursues the maenad and simultaneously appreciate his frontal face's expression and state of arousal. The maenad, dressed in her copious garments makes a valiant attempt to escape his grasp. All is skillfully delineated via the black figure technique with added incised details defining the satyr's bold facial features, beard, and penis as well as the flowing drapery and headdress adorning the maenad.
Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection acquired before 2000
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