NEW YORK, NY.- Christie's announced the sale of Antiquities on June 10, which will offer over 150 lots with a stunning selection of Roman marbles, Greek helmets and vases, and Egyptian art. The highlight of the sale is a rare Roman marble relief from the Julio-Claudian period, circa early 1st century A.D., that depicts the Emperor Tiberius standing before a seated Genius with the goddess Concordia between them as intermediary. This outstanding Imperial commission, perhaps from an altar or other civic monument, is superbly sculpted in high relief. Carved with great technical precision the relief combines depth and perspective within the limited thickness of the marble slab. The sculptor of the relief was an artist of importance and considerable skill, one well acquainted with Classical and Hellenistic styles of drapery.
A Roman Marble Relief of the Emperor Tiberius Julio-Claudian Period, circa early 1st century A.D. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010.
An Imperial commission, perhaps from an altar or other civic monument, superbly sculpted in high relief with the emperor Tiberius standing before a seated Genius with the goddess Concordia between them as an intermediary, Tiberius to the left facing right, wearing sandals and a traditional toga over a tunic, standing with his weight on his left leg, the right bent at the knee and projecting back, a scroll in his lowered left hand, his right extending towards the Genius, their hands clasped, a thick wreath in his wavy locks, his features youthful, the Genius (either the Genius Augusti or the Genius Populi Romani) seated on a fringed pillow on an elaborate throne, his feet on a foot stool, the leg of the throne in the form of adorsed palmettes, the back with scrolling, topped by a rosette framed by fronds, the god wearing a himation that exposes his muscular torso, extending his right arm to Tiberius, holding a cornucopia in his left hand, its surface with volutes and rosettes in low relief, the goddess with her body frontal, her head turned toward the Genius, her left arm extended toward him with her hand resting on his shoulder, wearing a chiton and himation, a crescentic diadem in her wavy center-parted hair, a two-line Latin inscription partially preserved above, reading: AD [C...], [...]S TI AVGVUST [C...], a projecting plinth below - 35 in. (88.9 cm.) high. Estimation on request.
Provenance: Said to be from southern Spain.
D. Arturo Moya Moreno, Seville, Spain, acquired in the 1950s.
Spanish export license, from the Ministry of Culture no. 237/2008.
Notes: An exceedingly rare sculpture and masterwork from the Julio-Claudian period, this profoundly important historical relief adds significantly to the known corpus of Roman imperial sculpture and contributes to our understanding of Roman state religion. This relief is purported to be from Southern Spain in the western provinces of the Roman Empire, which increases the its rarity and historical interest. Among the wealthiest provinces, the area was known for its exports of olive oil and metals from the port of Hispalis on the Guadalquivir River. Several Roman building complexes have been discovered in the vicinity.
The lower row of the inscription can be interpreted as S[ALUS] TI[BERIUS] AVGUST[US] C[AESAR], a reference to the adopted son of Augustus, the Emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero (14-37 A.D.), governing as Tiberius Caesar Augustus. The epithet "Augustus" was added to the name Tiberius Caesar after his adoption by Augustus in 4 A.D.
The standing male figure to the left undoubtedly depicts Tiberius, recognizable from his many surviving portraits. For the pose and rich drapery compare the figure, likely of Tiberius, from the Suovetaurilia relief in Paris, no. 117 in Kleiner, Roman Sculpture. See also the figure of Tiberius from the south frieze of the Ara Pacis Augustae, no. 75 in Kleiner, op. cit.
The solemnity of the scene is striking and the relief's strongly narrative iconography alludes to a particular event in which historical and mythological figures are intermingled. Such subject matter is so rare that it gives the relief a prominent place in imperial iconography and the history of Roman art. It may commemorate an offering from the emperor Tiberius Augustus Caesar to the Genius Augusti or the Genius Populi Romani with Concordia as intermediary.
The relief dates either to the period after the adoption of Tiberius by Augustus on 26 January 4 A.D. or sometime after the accession of Tiberius as emperor in 14 A.D. Tiberius became emperor at age fifty-six and on this relief he is still represented within the classical ideal, eternally youthful like his predecessor Augustus. In his left hand he holds an object that appears to be a scroll, perhaps a document referring to a law, act, or treaty, which would benefit from the intervention of the goddess Concordia.
The goddess Concordia was the Roman incarnation of the Greek goddess Harmonia, daughter of Aphrodite and Ares. She wears a crescentic diadem upon a classical hairstyle, and is dressed in Greek attire. As goddess of harmony, agreement, truce, and peace, Concordia personified the good relationship among members of a family or inhabitants of a country. The Roman Senate often appealed for her intervention to solve civil unrest. The festival of Caristia (from caritas, love, affection) was celebrated in her honor. On this occasion family members reconciled with each other over any discord. In Rome the first temple to Concordia was built on the lower slopes of the Capitoline Hill overlooking the Forum in 367 B.C. by Marcus Furius Camillus at the request of the Senate. The rebuilding of this temple by Tiberius, who dedicated it in 10 A.D., must have solidified his identification with the cult of harmonious agreement as personified by Concordia. The new temple foreshadowed the use of this goddess and her image within the empire, and in the case of the Tiberius relief, as Concordia of the provinces. The placement of Concordia on this relief underlies her role as intermediary between Tiberius and an enthroned male figure toward which her gestures express a familiarity and close relationship.
The richly embellished throne upon which the Genius sits hearkens back to Hellenistic prototypes with high straight backs and legs with palmette decoration. The back of the throne is adorned with rosettes, volutes, and decorative scrollwork in contrast to the undecorated footrest, which is of a simple rectangular design. Generally the Genius Augusti, like the Genius Populi Romani, was represented by a togate male figure carrying a cornucopia.
The genius represents a deified concept that is present in every individual person, place or thing. The genius was originally related to the family-cult, honored in each household. Under Rome's first emperors the concept was expanded, and quickly became an important element of the Roman ruler-cult. As divi filius (son of the deified one--the deified Julius Caesar), Augustus had a mediating role with the divine, a role that would be passed on to his own adopted son, Tiberius, thereby maintaining a system of control for the succession of the Julio-Claudian emperors. For a depiction of the Genius Augusti see an as minted by Nero, no. 199 in Kent, Roman Coins.
Based upon size and shape, the relief is likely part of an altar or other monument. Such a work would have been made either during his reign as emperor, or after his adoption by Augustus all but assured his succession. The relief's harmonious sculptural program follows the trend toward neoclassicism prevalent in Roman art during the first half of the first century A.D. This hearkening back to Classical and Hellenistic styles in both art and literature supported the efforts of Augustus and the Julio-Claudians to elevate their dynasty to heights of mythic and epic grandeur. Roman works of art that were endowed with the dignity, nobility, and restraint of Classical Greek art were created to function as imperial propaganda.
The relief is carved with great technical precision using a technique that combines depth and perspective within the limited thickness of the marble slab. The throne and seated figure, deeply carved in three-quarter view, appear to be in the foreground while the standing female figure, done with more shallow carving, appears in the background, creating depth and perspective. The sculptor of the relief was an artist of importance and considerable skill, one well acquainted with Classical and Hellenistic styles of drapery. He created a harmonious sculptural composition for the clothing of the figures, as it sometimes clings to the body, revealing it beneath, or gathers apparently heavy cloth in thick sumptuous folds that add a richness of contrasting light and dark areas.
This sculptural technique ultimately hearkens back to fifth century B.C. masterworks of Greek relief sculpture, like the figures on the Parthenon frieze. Equally inspired by the classicism of the Parthenon frieze and closer in date to the relief of Tiberius, the Ara Pacis Augustae (13-9 B.C.) offers us a comparable program of relief sculpture. Augustus (Deeds, 12) tells us that after settling affairs in Gaul and Spain and upon arriving in Rome in 13 B.C., the Senate voted that an Altar of Augustan Peace be consecrated for his return. The popular sentiment that associated the coming of peace and stability with the Deified Caesar Augustus allowed the Julio-Claudians their claim to rule the Roman Empire, and the Ara Pacis Augustae must have been a crucially important purveyor of that message. Similar sentiment is portrayed on a more intimate level, but in the same style, on the Gemma Augustea, which shows a victorious Tiberius before a defied Augustus enthroned (see fig. 182 in Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus). This relief of Tiberius must have echoed the same message, particularly to those citizens of southern Spain who viewed this magnificently sculptured work of art, all the more impressive and influential in a land distant from Rome.
Another notable work is a Roman bronze lamp stand, circa late 1st century B.C. (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000). On the base of the lamp stand is a figure of a youth, possibly depicting Alexander Helios, son of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra VII, in the guise of an Armenian prince with his high pyramidal headdress and eastern attire. This piece compares to the famous bronze youths, one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and one at the Walters Art Museum.
A rare Roman bronze lamp stand, circa late 1st century B.C. Estimate: $800,000-1,200,000.
Perhaps depicting Alexander Helios, the son of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, dressed in eastern attire, wearing a sleeveless tunic over trousers, the tunic billowing open at the sides, draping across the front and back in thick U-shaped folds, a thick gathering falling along his thighs, the trousers elaborately patterned and adorned with buttons along their length, his shoes tied with long bows, the tongues tasseled, a twisted bracelet on each wrist, several details with silver embellishment, the paunchy child standing with his weight on his left leg, his right slightly pulled back with the knee bent, his right arm extending up and to the right, his gaze following the line of his arm, his left arm lowered behind, a partially-preserved attribute in each hand, perhaps a sash in the left, his full face with a protruding knobby chin, rounded cheeks and fleshy lips slightly parted, the articulated eyes with silver inlay, his wild curly hair gathered at the center of his forehead in a top-knot, wearing a high pyramidal headdress, decorated with patterned silver and copper inlay, flaps falling along the sides and back, standing beside a tall foliate support with a spiraling stem sprouting from a layered calyx, everted leaves above a molding along the shaft, four petals turned out above from which emerge six twisting budded branches around a central budding acanthus, likely serving as supports for hanging lamps, both atop a rectangular plinth with engraved rosettes and palmettes, perhaps once inlaid, with ovolo on the overhanging molding, guilloche on the lower molding, the four supporting feet in the form of a lion paw on a pad surmounted by volutes and palmettes - 31½ in. (80 cm.) high
Provenance: Swiss Private Collection, prior to 1980.
European Art Market, 1999.
Notes: The costume and physiognomy of the youth distinctly recalls the famous "twin" bronze statues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum, each variously described as a Genius, Attis or simply a boy in eastern attire (see p. 255ff. in Mattusch, The Fire of Hephaistos, Classical Bronzes from North American Collections and p. 288ff. in Kozloff and Mitten, The God's Delight, The Human Figure in Classical Bronze). The costume of the present figure varies from that worn by the "twins" and rather relates to the billowing tunic and buttoned trousers known from depictions of the god Attis (see, for example, nos. 38-53 in Vermaseren, "Attis" in LIMC). The pyramidal headdress, known from the twin statues, and also seen in no. 51 in Vermaseren, op. cit., provides the strongest clue as to the identification of this figure. The headdress is thought to be Armenian or Commagenian and can be found on the monumental heads of rulers from Nimrud Dagh (see pl. 21 in Ridgway, Hellenistic Sculpture III, The Styles of ca. 100-31 B.C.).
Guy Weill Goudchaux examined the iconography of the twin figures in relation to historical Roman texts in his paper "Bronze Statuettes of a Prince of Armenia" delivered at the 8th International Congress of Egyptologists in Spring 2000 (Hawass, et al., Egyptology at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century: Vol. 2, History, Religion, pp. 254-260). Goudchaux concluded that the bronzes likely depict Alexander Helios, son of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra VII, in the guise of an Armenian prince. This identification is based, in part, on Plutarch's Life of Antony and Cassius Dio's description of the "Donations of Alexandria" in 34 B.C., during which Anthony ceremonially divides the lands of the east conquered in his military campaigns amongst Cleopatra and his offspring. To his six-year-old son Alexander Helios he designates Armenia, Media and Parthia (to his younger son Ptolemy he gives Phoencia, Cilicia and Syria; and to Cleopatra, Cyprus, Libya and Coele Syria; see Plutarch, op. cit., ch. 54.4).
As Plutarch describes (ch. 54.5), Anthony presents his son Alexander Helios in "in Median garb, which included a tiara and upright headdress."
For Goudchaux, the youth portrayed in the Metropolitan and Walters bronzes is a portrait of a boy aged five or six, the age Alexander should have been during this ceremony (b. 40 B.C.). The costume would have been charged and recognizable as Anthony had forced the Armenian royal family to be publicly and triumphally presented before Cleopatra in Alexandria in gold chains and clad in their native dress. In 33 B.C., when Alexander was still only a boy, Anthony arranged his marriage to the Median princess Iotape. Goudchaux makes the point that in great contrast to his rival, Octavian, Anthony believed in integrating Roman nobility, and specifically his own legacy, into the Eastern monarchies.
Given the great similarities, and the lack of other comparanda, our bronze must be viewed in this same light, with the most recent scholarship of Goudchaux enlightening the earlier work on the famous twin bronzes. The variation of the costume can be explained as portraying what is obviously eastern attire, recognizable to a Roman audience from depictions of the eastern deity Attis.
The sale also presents a fine Egyptian Diorite Head of an Official, Late Period, Dynasty XXX, 380-343 B.C. (estimate: $500,000-700,000). This is a skillfully sculpted and superbly polished idealizing head, part of a tradition that sought to imbue the individual with eternal youth and vigor. The important official represented would only be identifiable by the accompanying inscription, here lost. While a number of these portrait heads are preserved in museum collections in the U.S. and Europe, this example is rare to the market for its quality and condition.
An Egyptian Diorite Head of an Official, Late Period, Dynasty XXX, 380-343 B.C. Estimate: $500,000-700,000
Finely sculpted in idealizing style, with a high domed forehead and shaven, egg-shaped skull, his face with narrow almond-shaped eyes, the upper lids rimmed, extending beyond the outer corners, the lower lids cut in, the inner canthi pointed and angled downward, the modelled brows gently arching above, dipping slightly above the bridge of the nose, tapering at their outer ends, and offset by a shallow incision above, with prominent cheek bones and slightly compressed temples, his small nose rounded with slightly flared nostrils, the thick lips pursed into a slight smile, the philtrum indicated, the corners of the mouth indented, the prominent ears well-detailed, the remains of a back pillar along the neck, the surface finely polished - 8½ in. (21.5 cm.) high
Provenance: The Collection of a French Ambassador to Egypt, early 20th century.
Anonymous sale; Delorme et Fraysse, Drouot Richelieu, 5 June 1996, lot 4.
Notes: A number of skillfully sculpted and superbly polished idealizing heads from Dynasty XXX share similar characteristics with the present head in that they present the individual with eternal youth and vigor. They are not true portraits in the sense of representing unique physiognomic traits, although all of them are slightly different from each other. The important official represented would only be identifiable by the accompanying inscription, here lost. For related heads see the example in red granite, formerly in Buffalo, no. 85 in Bothmer, Egyptian Sculpture of the Late Period, 700 B.C. to A.D. 100; two heads in Virginia, one of black granite with a red vein, and one of red granite, nos. 60 and 64 in Brown, et al., Ancient Art in the Virginia Museum; a black granite head in Baltimore, no. 201 in Steindorff, Catalogue of the Egyptian Sculpture in the Walters Art Gallery; and a green basalt head in Brooklyn, no. 81 in Fazzini, et al., Ancient Egyptian Art in the Brooklyn Museum. These heads also share stylistic affinities in terms of the treatment of the face with several royal heads of Nectanebo II, including a granite head, possibly from Mendes, now in Cairo, and another granite head now in Boston, pl. 7b and 10c in Josephson, Egyptian Royal Sculpture of the Late Period, 400-246 B.C..
An Egyptian sandstone relief depicting the Pharaoh Ramesses II is also featured in the sale, dated to his reign, 1290-1224 B.C. (estimate: $100,000-150,000). Here Ramesses is portrayed offering a bolt of cloth to a deity. It is likely from a column drum. The Pharaoh is wearing a tunic and a short ibes wig with echeloned curls hanging over his ears. Only the right arm and was-scepter of the god before him remains. Two of Ramesses’ five names in cartouches are visible above, and red pigment for Ramesses’ flesh is well preserved.
An Egyptian sandstone relief depicting the Pharaoh Ramesses II. Estimate: $100,000-150,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010
Likely from a column drum, sculpted in sunk relief, depicting Ramesses II offering a bolt of cloth to a deity, the Pharaoh to the left facing right, wearing a tunic and a short ibes wig with echeloned curls covering the ears, fronted by a uraeus, his eye fully banded with an extending cosmetic line and conforming brow, only the right arm and was-scepter of the god preserved to the right, two of Ramesses' five names above in cartouches, reading: "The Lord of the Two Lands, Usermaatra Setepenra, the Lord of Crowns, Ramesses, Beloved of Amun, the Lord and Sovereign of Heliopolis," preserving some pigment, including red for flesh tones
21 in. (53.3 cm.) wide
Provenance: with Khawam Brothers, Paris, 1960s.
Acquired by the previous owner in Paris, 1985.
Notes: The Pharaoh Ramesses the Great brought peace and prosperity to Egypt throughout his lengthy sixty-six year reign, having established a truce with the Hittites early in his career. With prolific building and sculptural programs, the visage of Ramesses II was produced in more colossal statues than any predecessor. Among his most renowned efforts, the Pharaoh moved his capital to Pi-Ramesses ("Domain of Ramesses") in the Delta, signifying the political and strategic importance of the area during this period (see p. 46 in Baines and Màlek, Atlas of Ancient Egypt). Ramesses II lived to quite an old age, calculated to be into his 90s. With several wives, the king is thought to have fathered as many as 100 offspring. Predeceased by many of his sons, his 13th, Merneptah, succeeded him. The lore surrounding his life and career has customarily identified this great king as the Pharaoh of the Biblical Exodus.
For a limestone relief depicting Ramesses presenting offerings to an enthroned deity seated before him, with his mother Tuya standing behind him, see no. 89 in Ziegler, ed., The Pharaohs. For a sandstone column drum showing him presenting flowers, presumably to a deity, see no. 7 in Freed, Ramesses The Great.
Additional highlights include an incredible Roman marble relief panel from the Antonine Period, circa 160 A.D. (estimate: $400,000-600,000), depicting a centauromachy with a panorama of a battle scene of nude Greek warriors and centaurs, bearded half-equine beasts; a Greek bronze helmet of Cretan type, circa 650-620 B.C. (estimate: $350,000-550,000), distinguished by the high crest and carefully-incised mythological scenes; and an elegant Attic red-figured neck amphora, circa 490-480 B.C. (estimate: $200,000-300,000), attributed to the Berlin Painter.
A Roman marble relief panel from the Antonine Period, circa 160 A.D. Estimate: $400,000-600,000.
Depicting a centauromachy in high relief, with the Lapiths and Centaurs engaged in battle at the wedding of Perithoös and Hippodameia, the Greek warriors all depicted nude, the half-equine monsters all bearded with unruly hair on their human heads, the violent scene framed by two draped female onlookers, perhaps wedding guests and the bride freed from their abduction, each wearing a high-belted tunic with a mantle billowing over her head, the battle scene, from left to right, including a Lapith kneeling upon the back of a centaur, the monster falling to his knees as the Lapith stabs him with a dagger under his arm, the centaur gripped along his raised left arm by a second attacking Lapith who wields a dagger in his lowered right hand, a mantle hanging over his arm, a draped female figure in low relief behind, her mantle billowing over her head, further to the right the central scene composed of three centaurs and two Lapiths, both Greek warriors raising their shields, the central centaur in profile to the left, supporting the arms of a fallen comrade collapsed before him, a centaur behind rearing as he prepares to hurl a branch at his enemy, a draped female figure in low relief behind, to the right a Lapith stepping on the back of a fallen centaur to face a rearing centaur, both raising their armed right hands, the fallen centaur with his foreleg over the side of an amphora, alluding to the inebriation that led to the mélée, all on a rough groundline, a plain border above - 77 in. (195.6 cm.) wide
Provenance: with Ars Antiqua, Lucerne, 1960s.
Stirt Collection, Switzerland.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 9 December 2005, lot 330.
Literature: G. Koch, "Ein Sarkophag mit Kentaurenkampf in Privatbesitz," in Studies in Memory of Tomasz Mikocki, forthcoming.
Notes: The battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs was a popular subject in the Greek world, especially in the 5th century B.C., where it was prominently portrayed on the west pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia, the west frieze of the Hephaisteion in Athens and the metopes of the Parthenon. As Padgett explains (The Centaur's Smile, The Human Animal in Early Greek Art, p. 17), the theme of centauromachy "came to symbolize the defeat of barbarism, in particular, the Persian."
The myth remained prevalent into the Roman Period, and was popularized again by Ovid in the late 1st century B.C.-early 1st century A.D. (Metamorphoses 12). While Centaurs appear on several Dionysiac sarcophagi in the Roman Period, the depiction of a centauromachy on a Roman sarcophagus is quite rare. The only other known example depicting the myth, and sculpted in a similar style, is in Ostia (see no. 404a, p. 463 in Sengelin "Kentauroi et Kentaurides" in LIMC). Koch suggests (op. cit.) that the present example is an important addition to the corpus of existing Roman sarcophagi, and that it was likely produced in the same workshop.
A Greek bronze helmet of Cretan type, circa 650-620 B.C. Estimate: $350,000-550,000
Formed from two hammered sheets riveted together, the join running vertically across the crown, each half of the crest forged in one with half of the helmet, in the form of an open-faced bowl with a slightly-flaring guard, the shaft of the high crest, rectangular in section, rising up from the crown and terminating in a forward-curving inverted hook, the guard offset from the bowl by a raised molding, with three incised bands below, guilloche, complex guilloche and tongues, divided by raised tripartite ribbed bands, similar tripartite bands encircling at the forehead level, two small loops, perhaps hinges, centered within the bands at the front, perforations along the face cut-out likely once fitted with a separately-made and now-missing frontlet, both sides of the crest with raised tripartite and plain ridges dividing incised guilloche, wave and complex guilloche, the narrow ends of the crest open, with evenly spaced perforations, likely for insertion of plumes, the crest ridges extending at the crown, creating two zones on either side filled with carefully-incised mythological scenes, each on a groundline of arches alternating with palmettes, one zone on the proper left side with Apollo Kitharoidos facing right, two birds in flight behind him, a gesturing youth in a splaying garment before him, his head turned back toward the god, a lion at the far right, his head turned back, the other zone with a departing warrior striding to the right, armed in greaves, a corselet, a circular shield and a high-crested Cretan helmet, a veiled woman and a child behind him, one zone on the proper right side with Perseus presenting the decapitated head of Medusa to Athena, Perseus' head surmounted by a small animal head, the gorgon's head with two smaller facing heads below, perhaps ornament on a cauldron, the goddess wearing a peplos with incised rosettes, an aegis and a high-crested Cretan helmet, the other zone with a centaur, perhaps Chiron, his head turned back, holding an attribute, perhaps an arrow, in his right hand, a standing figure before him in a long garment; each zone with an inverted goat and a rosette above - 17 in. (43.1 cm.) high
Provenance: Joseph Weller (1872-1926), Essen, Germany.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 7 December 2005, lot 54.
Notes: According to Hoffmann (Early Cretan Armorers, p. 1), Cretan helmets are remarkably light and extremely resilient, due to their metallurgy and to the technique of manufacture. Two types are known, the orientalizing "open face" type and a variation of the Corinthian. Both types are made in two halves and riveted together. Only two examples of the "open face" type are known, the present example and another in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg (see no. H5, pl. 13 in Hoffmann, op. cit.); and only four examples of the Corinthian variation. Prior to the publication of the Hamburg helmet, the type was only known in votive miniatures and in representations on works of art in various media. (For the votives see no. 30, pls. 29, 30a, b in Benton, "Bronzes from Palaikastro and Praisos," in Annual of the British School at Athens; for depictions of this type of helmet see the warriors on the corselet in Hamburg, no. C1 in Hoffmann, op. cit., and the warrior and figure of Athena on the present helmet). The engraved mythological scenes are some of the finest and earliest such depictions in Greek art. For the style compare the figures, especially the Apollo Kitharoidos, on the "Crowe" corselet from Olympia, now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, no. C8 in Hoffmann, op. cit.
An Attic red-figured neck amphora, circa 490-480 B.C. attributed to the Berlin Painter. Estimate: $200,000-300,000.
Elegantly potted with a torus and disk foot, an echinus mouth with an offset flaring rim, and twisted handles; depicting a combat between two warriors, a single figure isolated on each side, one side with a youthful warrior advancing to the right, wearing greaves and a short pleated chiton below a corselet, the hem billowing behind from his forward movement, the corselet with a belt of dotted circles, a sword suspended by a baldric in added red over his right shoulder, his crested Chalcidian helmet with the cheek-guards raised, his long hair emerging from beneath the helmet, his youthful sideburns in dilute glaze, his circular shield over his left arm, wielding a spear in his upraised right hand, a band of running key as the groundline; the other side with an older bearded warrior reeling backwards, his head turned back, bleeding wounds on his right breast and right thigh in added red, wearing a short belted chiton and a crested Corinthian helmet high on his head, a sword hanging from a baldric over his right shoulder, a circular shield on his left arm, the shield strap with opposing palmettes, a spear in his right hand, tip upward, the butt planted in the ground for support, pairs of stopt meander interspersed with saltire and cross squares as the groundline; numerous preliminary sketch lines visible, a pre-firing dent on either side to the right of the figure, that on the side with the youthful warrior showing the "ghost" of a meander and saltire-square band - 22 9/16 in. (57.3 cm.) high
Provenance: Hirschmann Collection, Kusnacht, Switzerland.
Greek Vases from Hirschman Collection; Sotheby's, London, 9 December 1992, lot 45.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 1 June 1995, lot 77.
Literature: H. Bloesch, ed., Greek Vases from the Hirschmann Collection, Zurich, 1982, p. 58, 59 and 102, no. 29.
Beazley Archive no. 7245.
Exhibited: Zurich, Archäologische Sammlung der Universität, 12 November 1987 - 6 March 1988.
Notes: The Berlin Painter and his contemporary the Kleophrades Painter are considered the two greatest vase-painters of their generation. Both artists were pupils of the Pioneer School of the late 6th century B.C., led by Euthymides and Phintias. The Berlin Painter takes his name from one of his masterpieces, an amphora in Berlin. He is perhaps best known for featuring single figures on either side of the vase, even where the action continues, and with a notable reduction of subsidiary ornament (see Boardman, Athenian Red Figure Vases, The Archaic Period, p. 91-111).
For other large amphorae by the Berlin Painter with similar elegant potting and twisted handles, see nos. 6-9 in Kurtz, The Berlin Painter. Although there are no identifying attributes or inscriptions on the present vase, it has been suggested that the youthful warrior could be Achilles, while the collapsing one is Hector (see Isler-Kerényi in Bloesch, op. cit.).