12 June 2000
AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED COLUMN-KRATER
attributed to Lydos, circa 560-550 b.c.
The obverse with a Centauromachy in which two Lapith warriors battle three centaurs, the two warriors armed with helmets, greaves and large Boeotian shields, wielding spears in their upraised right hands, the warrior to the left facing a centaur who prepares to hurl a rock, while the warrior to the right pursues a centaur who turns back, also preparing to hurl a rock, the third centaur, in the middle, carries a huge boulder; the reverse with two confronting bulls, their heads lowered, a lotus bud on a serpentine stem between them, and a palmette with tendrils above; with an enormous swan under each handle, rays above the foot, alternating red and black tongues on the neck, bearded heads on the handle plates and rows of zigzag around the mouth
17 3/16 in. (43.6 cm) high
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Guy in Leipen, et al., Glimpses of Excellence, A Selection of Greek Vases and Bronzes from the Elie Borowski Collection, no. 4.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 18 December 1984 to 30 June 1985
The Lapith king Peirithous invited the Centaurs to his wedding. The lustful Centaurs, after over-indulging in wine, repaid their generous host by attempting to rape the Lapith woman. The Centaurs were routed in the ensuing battle, which is depicted on this vase.
The shape and subsidiary decoration of this vase reveals Lydos' indebtedness to the Corinthian vase-painting tradition. According to Guy, (op. cit., p. 7-8) this is the painter's earliest complete column-krater yet known, and "seemingly preserves his first recorded essay at a Centauromachy."
Decorative and dangerous, the most impressive group of courtly quality weapons to come to auction in well over a generation
This month, Christie’s offers one of the American artist’s large-scale works. In October, she will tackle the monumental proportions of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall