Greece, Athens, Attic, attributed to the Priam Painter, ca. 520 to 510 BCE. A wonderful lidded amphora decorated in the traditional black-figure technique, the graceful form with an echinus mouth and substantial looped handles, all supported by a torus foot, with hand painted scenes on both sides. Side A features Dionysos - god of wine, pleasure, ritual madness, ecstasy, and theatre - standing in composite profile but looking behind him, donning a long garment with folds of drapery delineated with incised marks. Dionysos holds a drinking horn, and is flanked by a pair of lovely dancing maidens, followed by a pair of satyrs standing in profile toward the deity and playing double flutes. Grape vines occupy the field. Side B features Artemis and Athena watching the struggle between Herakles and Apollo for the Delphic Tripod. At the far left is another military figure. Between the two, it appears there were attendants or perhaps prisoners of war, one holding knee tremblers. Quite an exciting example! Size: 11" in diameter x 20.25" H (27.9 cm x 51.4 cm)
The soldiers and female figures present traces of white pigment on their faces, arms, and feet, and dotted shield created via added, fugitive pigment. The folds of the Maenad's draperies and facial features, as well as the musculature of the Satyrs' bodies and various details such as their goat-like pointed ears/horns, beards, and eyes - are nicely delineated with incised marks. Adorning the field of Side A are finely delineated grape vines with long tendrils and juicy grape clusters. Above each figural panel is a band of stylized palmettes. Finally, a geometric ray pattern radiates above the foot, and the lid is decorated by another band of rays as well as a double dotted border.
The Priam Painter is considered one of the most sophisticated painters of his time. Some scholars have compared him to the Antimenes Painter of the Leagros Group. Others compare him to the Rycroft Painter.
An Attic black-figured Amphora (also Type B) attributed to the Priam Painter realized $62,500 at Christie's New York on 25 October 2017 - Sale 14356, lot 22 (https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/an-attic-black-figured-amphora-type-b-attributed-6101949-details.aspx)
An Attic black-figured amphora "Near the Priam Painter" sold for 68,750 GBP ($87,929) at Christie's London - 3 July 2018 - Sale 15501, lot 62 - https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/an-attic-black-figured-neck-amphora-near-the-priam-6150951-details.aspx
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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Body repaired from multiple pieces with areas of restoration and repainting in the areas of the goddess’ heads, the mid-body and lion skin of Herakles, etc. The Dionysiac scene is in better condition, but there is loss to the added colors: the white of the maenads’ faces and limbs, the red of the god’s beard. Expected surface wear with scuffs, nicks, and losses to the decorative program as shown, the more major losses to Side B. Chips to periphery of base and rim. With professional restoration, this piece could be quite a prize. If it were in better condition, the price would be significantly higher - see Christie's comps for more than $60,000 below. Lid is ancient but most likely was not intended for this piece as Type B amphoras did not have lids. It has restoration to knob and parts of the rim.