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    Sale 12239

    Antiquities

    6 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 18

    AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED TYRRHENIAN AMPHORA

    ATTRIBUTED TO THE OLL GROUP, CIRCA 575-525 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED TYRRHENIAN AMPHORA
    ATTRIBUTED TO THE OLL GROUP, CIRCA 575-525 B.C.
    One side with the battle scene between Achilles and Memnon, Memnon wearing a high-crested helmet and greaves, a shield over his left arm, his right arm upraised, on the left the standing figures of bearded Hector carrying a staff, and Eos, wearing a chiton and striped himation pulled over her head, on the right the standing figures of Thetis and Diomedes, wearing greaves and high-crested helmet, carrying a large shield with tripod device and spear, Phokos falling beneath the two central warriors, wearing a high crested helmet and tunic, his arm outstretched, all the figures named, with some missing or indistinct, a double lotus palmette on the neck; the other side with confronting boar and lion, rosettes in the field, a profile bearded head facing left on the neck; a continuous band of animals below the scenes with three sirens and four felines, rays above the foot, details in added red
    14 ½ in. (37 cm.) high


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    PUBLISHED:
    W. Hornbostel, Kunst der Antike - Schätze aus norddeutschem Privatbesitz, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Mainz, 1977, cat. no. 233.
    A. Kossatz-Deissmann, 'Achilleus', LIMC I, Zurich and Munich, 1981, p. 176, no. 822, pl. 137 (part of obverse).
    S. Muth, Gewalt im Bild, Das Phanomen der medailen Gewalt im Athen des 6. und 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr, Berlin, 2008, p. 100, fig. 52.
    Beazley Archive no: 7568.

    The scene on this vase includes some fascinating anachronisms. According to the Iliad, Hector was killed by Achilles before the arrival of Memnon, yet here he is an onlooker. Furthermore, Phokos, a half brother of Peleus and a maternal cousin of Achilles, is not recorded as having been at Troy. It would seem that the iconography on the present vase is both highly unusual in its combination of protagonists, and unique amongst the known corpus.

    Memnon was an Ethiopian king who fought at Troy against the Greeks. Memnon killed Nestor's son Antilochos in battle; Nestor, after Memnon refused to fight the elderly man, beseeched Achilles to seek vengeance for his fallen son, who, after Patroclus, was his closest companion. The ensuing clash was quintessentially epic, echoing that of Achilles and Hector: both heroes were protected by divine armour made by Hephaestus, and Zeus granted each heroic strength and unyielding energy. Thetis and Eos watched Zeus weigh the destinies of their sons, when Memnon’s was found to be heavier. Achilles was eventually victorious, stabbing Memnon through the heart.

    Provenance

    Private collection, Hamburg, acquired prior to 1977; and thence by descent to the present owner.


    Exhibited

    Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Kunst der Antike: Schätze aus norddeutschem Privatbesitz, 21 January-6 March 1977.