Water Jar with a Reveler

about 480 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

A boy plays the double flutes for a young reveler on this Athenian red-figure kalpis. Several clues--the provision basket hanging on the wall, the wreath on the youth's head, and the boy's red ribbon--indicate that the action takes place at a symposion or aristocratic drinking party. The youth, who is shown as just old enough to grow a downy beard on his cheeks, holds a walking stick and the case for the boy's flute. He approaches the boy with a hand lowered toward his genitals, the standard gesture of young men courting boys. The inscription on the vase also refers to this Athenian cultural practice of men courting boys. A kalos inscription between the figures reads "Eucharides is beautiful." Eucharides would have been one of the handsome adolescents in Athens in the years around 480 B.C., and the Eucharides Painter received his name from his fondness for this boy. A kalpis is a rounded variant form of a hydria or water vessel. Greeks always drank their wine mixed with water, and a vessel like this one would have held the water at a symposion. The decoration on the vessel foretold the pleasures of the evening.


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