Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta neck-amphora (storage jar)

Attributed to the New York Nessos Painter
Period:
Proto-Attic
Date:
second quarter of the 7th century B.C.
Culture:
Greek, Attic
Medium:
Terracotta
Dimensions:
H. 42 3/4 in. (108.6 cm); diameter 22 in. (55.9 cm)
Classification:
Vases
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1911
Accession Number:
11.210.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 152
During the first half of the seventh century B.C., vase painters in Athens abandoned the abstract geometric tradition in favor of a naturalistic style inspired by art imported from the Near East. On the front of this monumental vase, the hero Herakles strides to the left, sword in hand, grabbing the hair of Nessos, a centaur who had tried to abduct Herakles' wife, Deianeira. The two components of the centaur—horse and man—are not well integrated in this early representation, but the creature shows emotion, pleading for mercy with outstretched hands. Behind Herakles, a four-horse chariot and a driver wait patiently for the outcome of the battle, while a small man attracted by the excitement rushes forward. The scene is depicted with a combination of outline and silhouette enlivened by white and incised lines. A lion attacks a deer on the neck of the vase, and horses graze on the shoulder, but most of the surface is filled with floral motifs and curvilinear decorations. This vase served as a grave marker.
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