Red-Figure Amphora with Musical Scene

Niobid Painter460-450 BC (Classical)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

One of the prominent painters of classical Athens, the Niobid Painter (named after his most famous vase) is admired for his quiet and balanced compositions. Here, in the women's quarters of a house, three elaborately dressed women prepare for a music session. A seated woman relaxes while fingering a "barbiton" (a stringed instrument). Above her head hangs a lyre. She faces a woman holding double flutes, and a third woman lifts the lid of a box. The scene evokes the leisured and relatively educated world of affluent Athenian women. On the back, women dressed in the attire of maenads, the female followers of Dionysus, hold pine branches and a torch; these may be the same women, now preparing for their ritual roles in Dionysus' cult.


  • Title: Red-Figure Amphora with Musical Scene
  • Creator Lifespan: -0482/-0433
  • Creator Nationality: Ancient Greek
  • Date Created: 460-450 BC (Classical)
  • Physical Dimensions: h44.7 cm
  • Type: amphorae
  • Rights: Museum purchase, 1993, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: terracotta
  • Provenance: Raymond Duncan (1874-1966) [brother of Isadora Duncan]; Dorée Duncan Seligmann [granddaughter of Raymond Duncan], by inheritance; Robert E. Hecht, Jr., New York, 1961 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1993, by purchase.
  • Place of Origin: Attica, Greece
  • ExhibitionHistory: Pandora's Box: Women in Classical Greece. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, Basel. 1995-1996; Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001
  • Artist: Niobid Painter

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