Attic Greek Black-figure Neck Amphora with Lions, Boars, and a Waterbird

Greek · Attic, ca. 530 B.C., Attributed to the Antimenes Painter




H: 39.5 cm (15.6 in)





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The neck-amphora, a container for liquids, such as wine, water, or oil, has a tapering body, deep shoulder, offset neck, echinus mouth, triple handles, and torus foot. The neck is decorated with a chain of palmettes and elongated lotus blossoms; rays extend upward from the foot. On the front side of the vase, a waterbird with an arched neck is preening its feathers. A lion with lowered head, its tongue hanging out, and tail curling between its legs roars at a boar at the right. The boar lowers its head and its forelegs in a crouching position, as if ready to charge at a second lion that roars and stands his ground at the far right, its head raised and tail curling upwards. On the opposite side of the vase, a centrally placed boar, alert and stiff, stands with straightened forelegs between two lions, both of which seem ready to attack. The lion to the right lifts up his front right leg as if stopping the boar in its tracks. Added red and white are used throughout the vase to enliven the scenes of animals. Incised lines are effectively used for the details of the animals’ faces and anatomy; to indicate the wing feathers of the waterbird; for the bristly hair on the back of the boars; for the long-haired manes of the two lions. The Antimenes Painter is one of the chief painters of neck-amphorae and hydriai, the leading shapes in black-figure during the last quarter of the sixth century. His compositions are neat and simple, and his figures rarely overlap, demonstrating that late black-figure can effectively and clearly convey a simple narrative.


Reassembled from large fragments; painted plaster filling along the junctions; small chips at the edge of mouth and base; a few scratches and nicks; areas of thinned black glaze on the body from original firing; glaze abraded on base and lower body; three modern holes for analysis on the base, neck and the side of the handle.


Art market, prior to 1855;

Ex- Samuel Rogers, poet, philanthropist, and collector (1763-1855), private collection, London, collected prior to 1855;

Christie’s, London, 28 April 1856, lot 478;

Bonham’s London, 28 October 2004, lot 48.


Christie and Manson catalog, London, April 28, 1856, lot 478;

Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fasicule 4, 1976, p. 48;

Bonham’s London, 28 October 2004, lot 48;

The Painter’s Eye: The Art of Greek Ceramics: Greek Vases from a Swiss Private Collection and Other European Collections, Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva, New York, 2006, pp. 12-15, no. 3.


The Painter’s Eye: The Art of Greek Ceramics, New York, 2006