Terracotta Panathenaic prize amphora

Attributed to the Kleophrades Painter

Period: Archaic

Date: ca. 525–500 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; black-figure

Dimensions: H. 25 in. (63.5 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1907

Accession Number: 07.286.79


This amphora would have been filled with oil and awarded as a prize in one of the Panathenaic games held every four years in honor of the goddess Athena. Typically, it features an armed Athena on the principal side, and the athletic event, a chariot race, on the reverse. The goddess is depicted with her characteristic aegis, a goatskin bordered with snakes, helmet, shield, and spear. It is Athena who watched over the sacred olive trees that provided the oil awarded in the Panathenaic games. To the right of the striding goddess is an inscription: "one of the prizes from Athens."
On the basis of stylistic criteria, this vase has been attributed to the Kleophrades Painter, one of the preeminent painters of Attic black-figure vases. After the mid-sixth century B.C., artists' signatures do not appear on Panathenaic amphorae, rather it seems that certain artists used their own "trademark" shield devices. The Kleophrades Painter favored Pegasus, the winged horse, as is depicted here on the shield of the striding Athena.