Black-figured water-jar (hydria) with mythical and real scenes


British Museum

British Museum

The Etruscans not only imported Greek pottery, but also copied the techniques of Greek vase-painting. This black-figured vase is an Etruscan product, and is one of the few that can be attributed to an individual hand. The painter is known as the Micali Painter, the name deriving from Guiseppe Micali (1769-1841), a pioneering scholar of Etruscan archaeology. The vase is decorated with a mixture of mythological and real scenes. On the shoulder is a scene of the laying out of the dead, with attendants making gestures of mourning as they approach the bier carrying clothes. By the side of the bier a pair of boots and a pair of sandals rest on a low table. The neck of the vase shows a mythical figure, with wings springing rather oddly from his waist. On the body a centaur kicks out towards a winged horse. The centaur is represented with the front legs of a human rather than a horse, a characteristic of early Greek and Etruscan art.

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  • Title: Black-figured water-jar (hydria) with mythical and real scenes
  • Date Created: -510/-500
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 40.64cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted; incised
  • Subject: mythical figure/creature; centaur; funeral/funerary rite
  • Registration number: 1836,0224.159
  • Production place: Made in Vulci
  • Producer: Attributed to Micali Painter
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Vulci
  • Period/culture: Etruscan
  • Material: pottery
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Durand, Edm. Purchased through