Large Campanian bell-krater

South Italy, Hellenistic period, 2nd-1st century B.C.
H. 39 cm (15 23⁄64 in) W. 38 cm (14 61⁄64 in)

London art market, 1978
Private collection, Switzerland, acquired from the above
Fischer Auktionen, 16 & 17 July 2016, lot 3912

The observe showing an scene of ecstatic dancing maenads and satyr in presence of Dionysos; with a maenad standing on a pedestal moving to the right, wearing a ankle-lenght chiton, in her left a thyrsos, holding the satyre in front of her by his tail, he is nude but for a panther skin (pardalis), behind her a nude young man seated on his coat (most probably Dionysos), a thyrsos leaning on his right shoulder, the scene framed by an ecstatic dancing maenad; the reverse with two draped youth wearing a long himation, between them the goddess Nike; a band of meander with crossed squares below, a band of laurel encircling above, standing palmette below each handle, added white for details.

The Painter of the Oxford Grypomachy was named by Beazley after a bell-krater in the Ashmolean depicting a battle between Arimasps and griffins, a recurring subject for the artist, the bell-krater being his favorite shape (see J.D. Beazley, Attic Red-figure Vase-painters, no. 1428.1). Several other of his bell-kraters depict Dionysos and his entourage of dancing satyrs and maenads. The central figure on the bell-krater presented here, distinguished by the use of added white for her flesh and the plinth upon which she stands, may be the god’s consort, Ariadne.

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