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Miniature Panathenaic Amphora
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Miniature Panathenaic Amphora

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This amphora with a flaring offset mouth depicts Poseidon and Athena on one side and Hermes on the other. Poseidon stands in profile to the right with his left foot propped up on a rock and his left arm bent and resting on his left knee. In his right hand he holds a trident upright which extends into the ornament above. A mantle is draped around his back, right thigh, and over his left leg. Athena stands to the left holding a spear upright in her right hand, and she has a shield with a Gorgoneion and a star device on her left arm. She wears a peplos girded at the waist, necklace, bracelet, and Attic helmet. Hermes is depicted standing to the left. He holds a kerykeion in his right hand at waist level and wears a pestasos, chlamys, and mask (?). Behind him is a stele on which his left arm rests, while to the left and right are olive trees which fill the areas underneath the handles. The subject matter is not the usual for Panathenaic amphorae, which normally have Athena on one side and athletes on the other. Poseidon and Athena are here depicted calmly standing and facing one another on the front, a juxtaposition which brings to mind their contest for the city of Athens. This story is first known to have been depicted in the west pediment of the Parthenon, but there is no sign of strife in our scene. If Hermes wears a mask, as the black line running from his chin up suggests, the scene may in some way have been influenced by a dramatic performance. The generally poor quality of drawing, however, makes it impossible to determine if the painter meant to indicate a mask or not. The olive trees beneath the handles are approporiate fillers because of the tree's association with Athena, the story of the contest, Panathenaic ampohorae, and the Panathenaia.
  • Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens. Hood Museum of Art, Hanover; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton. 1992-1993.
  • Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover. 2014-2015.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [1897 cat. no. 153]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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early 4th century BCE (Classical)
terracotta; red figure
Accession Number
3 7/16 x 1 13/16 in. (8.8 x 4.6 cm) (h. x max. diam.); at rim: 1 in. (2.55 cm) (diam.); at foot: 11/16 in. (1.8 cm) (diam.)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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