• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2007

    Antiquities

    4 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 170

    AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED EYE-CUP

    GROUP OF THE COURTING CUPS, CIRCA 530 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED EYE-CUP
    GROUP OF THE COURTING CUPS, CIRCA 530 B.C.
    One side with a courtship scene between large white eyes, with a bearded adult male fondling an adolescent youth, both depicted nude, a wreath in the youth's lowered right hand; the other side with a nude athlete moving to the right between large white eyes, his legs straight and his elbows bent, wearing a chlamys, the eyes on both sides with the irises and pupils composed of concentric black and red rings, the thin brows arching above; stylized lotus blossoms below the handles, the reserved tondo with a dotted ring
    8 5/8 in. (21.9 cm.) diameter excluding handles


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Regarding the courtship scene, according to Beaumont (p. 63-65 in "The Changing Face of Childhood" in Neils and Oakley, Coming of Age in Ancient Greece), "in the context of ancient Athens the age difference between the two lovers was of paramount importance, for their homoerotic relationship was considered to provide not only pleasure for the adult male but also both a sexual initiation for the boy and, through the adult male lover, a role model for the aristocratic ideals and conduct to which the growing youth should aspire."

    Provenance

    with Lempertz, Cologne, 3-8 June 1959, lot 844.