Red-Figure Amphora

Berlin Painter480 - 470 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

An armored Greek warrior or hoplite lunges forward with his spear raised in pursuit of his opponent, who appears on the other side of this Athenian red-figure amphora. When the vase is turned, this enemy is shown to be a Scythian archer who flees, glancing anxiously back over his shoulder. The body of the vase is entirely black except for these figures that appear to float on a surface without ground lines. This use of the single figure and omission of subsidiary decoration was characteristic of the work of the Berlin Painter. The Scythians, nomads who lived near the Black Sea, were famous in antiquity as skilled horsemen and archers. On this vase, in addition to the usual identifying Scythian clothing, the Berlin Painter has further characterized the man as a non-Greek foreigner by portraying him with stiff red hair and a snub nose. Given the vase's date, this battle scene may refer to a recent historical event, the Greek triumph over the invading Persian army in 479 B.C., when the Scythians were mercenary allies of the Persians.

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  • Title: Red-Figure Amphora
  • Date Created: 480 - 470 B.C.
  • Location Created: Athens, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: h47 cm
  • Type: Amphora
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • painter: Attributed to the Berlin Painter (Greek (Attic), active about 500 - about 460 B.C.)
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Warriors
  • Object Creditline: Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman