Mixing Vessel with a "Phlyax" Scene

Cotugno Painter370 - 360 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A phlyax play enacted on a simple stage decorates the front of this Apulian red-figure bell-krater. Phlyax plays, popular in the 300s and 200s B.C. in the Greek colonies in Italy, were farces parodying either heroes and themes of mythology or the comic elements of everyday life. On this vase, the play mocks the amorous adventures of Zeus, the king of the gods. An old man with a straggly beard, marked as Zeus by his crown and eagle-topped scepter, advances lecherously toward a woman in the middle of the stage. Unlike the beautiful maidens Zeus usually pursues, she is portrayed as an old woman with short white hair, wrinkles, a stubby nose, and thick lips. A slave stands at the left watching the action. The figures wear the distinctive costume of phlyax actors: a mask, tights, a padded tunic, and a large artificial phallus. In contrast to the raucous action on the front, the back of the vase depicts a quiet scene of a youth and two women.

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  • Title: Mixing Vessel with a "Phlyax" Scene
  • Date Created: 370 - 360 B.C.
  • Location Created: South Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: h34 cm
  • Type: Krater
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html, Bruce White Photography
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=35635
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • artist: Attributed to the Cotugno Painter (Greek (Apulian), active about 370 - 360 B.C.)
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Theater
  • Object Creditline: Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman