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Apulian large red-figure calyx krater by the White Saccos Painter Apulian large red-figure calyx krater by the White Saccos Painter

Seated Apollo with thyrsos and lyre; a female with a situla, and a nude satyr with a torch and a situla.
Reverse: A large winged head of a goddess.

Ca. 320-310 BC

H. 18 1/8 in. (46 cm.);
W. 16 1/2 in. (41.9 cm.)

Ex English collection; Patricia Kluge collection, Charlottesville, Virginia, acquired from Royal-Athena in 1991.

A.D. Trendall, RVAp Suppl. II, 1992, p. 357, no. 29/8e. pl. XCVI, 3-4; J. Eisenberg, One Thousand Years of Ancient Greek Vases, 1990, no. 103; J. Eisenberg, One Thousand Years of Ancient Greek Vases II, 2010, no. 123; J. Eisenberg, Art of the Ancient World, 2011, no. 123.


Apulian large red-figure calyx krater by the White Saccos Painter
Apulian large red-figure calyx krater by the White Saccos Painter
Side A: Dionysos sits on a hummock at center, his torso bare and his legs covered by a himation. A dotted bandoleer crosses his shoulder and long tresses hang on his chest. The white lyre behind him is normally an attribute of Apollo, but the thick white fillets in his hair and the flowering thrysos-staff in his right hand leave no doubt as to his identity. At the left, a maenad walks away from the god but looks back at him. She wears shoes, a belted chiton, a pearl necklace, bracelets, and a white hair-cloth. In her left hand she carries a situla with white decoration, and in her right hand she holds an incense-burner, a thymiaterion, with a lattice of metal at the top to disperse the smoke. At the right, a young satyr approaches carrying a situla and a flaming torch. Long fillets hang from the torch and the god’s thrysos, and two others hang at upper right and between the satyr and Dionysos. Metal libation bowls (phialai) lie in the foreground and hang in the upper background. Flowers grow near the feet of the maenad and satyr, and dotted groundlines also suggest an outdoor setting.

Side B: A large head of a winged goddess faces left. She wears a disk-earring and a colorful, embroidered saccos, the cloth snood that gives the artist his name. The white drawstrings of the saccos curl over it at the top. The black area over the brow is hair emerging from beneath the saccos. A single, corkscrew curl hangs from the ear. The wings of the goddess, which emerge from her shoulders at left and right, have many details in added white.

Scenes of the seated Dionysos with satyrs and maenads are very common on Apulian vases, especially on vessels of the so-called “Ornate Style,” such as this one. The cult of Dionysos was as popular with the Greeks of South Italy as it was with those in Athens and elsewhere. On calyx-kraters, such scenes are sometimes on the reverse, opposite a major mythological picture, but more often they are the most important scene on the vase, as here. Dionysos is not normally represented with a lyre, but he does not actually hold it, as Apollo would, and lyres and other attributes are sometimes given to the wrong deity; e.g. the lyre placed by Aphrodite on Tampa 86.106 (RVAp I, 405/51).

Large heads of women or winged goddesses are common decoration on Apulian and Campanian vases in the second half of the 4th century. They are more common on smaller vessels, (e.g. nos. 21-22, below). Their identity is normally undetermined, but when they are winged, they are usually identified as Nike, the goddess of victory. The problem is that the winged love-god Eros, a male, is normally represented with a rather effeminate appearance in this period, and usually wears a saccos.

Trendall called the White Saccos Painter “the immediate successor and true heir of the Baltimore Painter” (Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily [London 1989] 99). He painted mostly large pots, such as kraters and amphoras, but being a prolific artist, there are many smaller vessels by him as well. The bright polychromy and effulgent decoration of his vases demonstrate his descent from the Baltimore Painter, a major exponent of the Ornate Style of Apulian vase-painting.

Unbroken and in good condition. The shape is the standard one for the last third of the 4th century and is essentially the same as calyx-kraters decorated by the Darius painter 20 years earlier. Characteristic are the tall, concave body, wide, overhanging rim, massive foot, and tall incurving handles almost touching the sides.

A laurel wreath circles the vase beneath the rim. On the reverse, there is a broad band of linked maeanders on the rounded “cul” between the handles; on the obverse, this is replaced by an ivy vine above a narrower band of egg-pattern; the added white that colored the leaves and that made up the vine itself has largely flaked off.

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