• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2056


    9 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 86



    Price Realised  


    One side with a youthful diskos-thrower and his trainer in the palestra, the diskos-thrower to the left before a column, depicted nude in profile to the right, his straightened right leg extended forward, his left leg bent at the knee, his arms raised, gripping the diskos with his right hand, supporting it with his left hand below, a fillet in added white in his short curly hair, his bearded trainer before him, clad in a himation draped over his left shoulder and hanging over his raised left arm, his body depicted frontally, with his right leg frontal, the left in profile to his left, his right arm akimbo with his hand on his bare muscular torso, his face in profile facing the diskos-thrower, a wreath in added white in his curly hair, a long staff in his left hand; the other side with a lyre-player and his music master, both clad in a himation, the lyre-player standing to the left, in profile to the right, looking downward toward his instrument in his extended right arm, a wreath in added white in his short curly hair, his bearded teacher before him with a filled sack of nuts suspended from his extended right hand, depicted in profile to the left, his bare torso twisted to three-quarter frontal, exposing his musculature, his staff leaning against his bent left arm, a wreath in added white in his curly hair; details in dilute glaze, stacked palmettes and tendrils below the handles
    6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm.) high

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    Makron was among the most prolific Athenian artists of red-figured pottery in the early decades of the 5th century B.C. He partnered almost exclusively with the potter Hieron. According to Boardman (Athenian Red Figure Vases, The Archaic Period, p. 140), most of Makron's vases "carry groups of men, women and youths, dancing or passing the time of day together with a number of the usual Dionysiac, symposion and athlete subjects." For two skyphoi by the painter (in Boston and London, respectively) see nos. 308-309 in Boardman, op. cit.
    The subjects on the two sides of this skyphos relate to the ideals of performance and practice among Athenian youth. Musical contests often accompanied athletic games (see p. 56ff. in Neils, Goddess and Polis, The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens). However, the kithara was the instrument of competition, not the lyre, as shown here. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the two sides of this vase do not illustrate preparations for a particular contest, but rather show the expected study pursued by Athenian boys to achieve success in athletics and music.

    The column depicted on the side with the discus thrower locates these scenes within the palestra. As Herrmann and Kondoleon explain (Games for the Gods, The Greek Athlete and the Olympic Spirit, p. 125), "Participation in the activities at these facilities was the key experience for young sons of the elite. Here, their bodies and minds were engaged, for aside from being training grounds for athletic exercise and competition, gymnasia were sites for lessons in philosophy and music." The pairing of athletic training and musical training can also be found on a black-figured skyphos (cat. no. 128, op. cit.) with a young boy holding a strigil and aryballos during a lyre lesson.


    Professor Adolphe Goumaz, Pully, Switzerland, 1958.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Beazley Archive Pottery Database, no. 9021866.