Exekias

By: E.H.D.

Originally Published in 1933

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AMONG the most beautiful fragments of painted vases, from Orvieto, Italy, which were acquired in 1897 with the consent of the Italian Government, are the pieces of a black-figured amphora, on both obverse and reverse panels of which were painted a grazing horse and a warrior. From the obverse panel is preserved on one fragment [Plate IV] most of the horse, and on two other fragments (one of them shown in Figure A) the head and part of the shield and garment of the warrior who holds the horse’s ‘lunge-line.’ From the reverse panel very little of the horse is preserved, but almost the entire figure of the attendant, an archer in oriental costume, together with a small portion of the horse’s head [Plate I].

Fragment of an amphora showing an archer in Scythian clothes grazing his horse
Plate I — Fragment of a Black-Figured Amphora by Exekias, from Orvieto, Italy
Museum Object Number: MS4873B
Image Number: 2797
Fragment of an amphora showing a horse grazing
Plate IV — Fragment of a Black-Figured Amphora by Exekias, from Orvieto, Italy
Museum Object Number: MS4873A
Image Number: 2798

There is a sober beauty about these figures that is uuforgettable: horses quietly grazing, and men leaning easily forward to give more play to the ‘lunge-line’ but alert for a sudden movement. The artist apparently took much pleasure in rendering the archer’s long embroidered trousers, his huge quiver and tailed headdress, and delighted too in the cheek-piece in the form of a ram’s head on the helmet of the warrior.

Fragment of an amphora showing the head of a warrior and the top of his shield
Figure A
Museum Object Number: MS4873A
Image Number: 2799-2800

These fragments have recently been attributed by Mr. J. D. Beazley, of Oxford, to the great master of black-figured painting, Exekias, an attribution which not only enhances the interest of the fragments themselves, but also, to the present writer’s mind makes certain the attribution to Exekias of another vase in the Museum, the Antilochos amphora. Furtwaengler was the first to connect this amphora with Exekias, and Mr. Beazley has also associated it with him, saying that it ‘may well be from the painter’s own hand.’ The very close resemblance of the large white shield, with its blazon of a bird, to a shield on the Antilochos amphora seems now to warrant an unqualified attribution of this vase to Exekias.

E. H. D.

Cite This Article

E.H.D.,. "Exekias." Museum Bulletin IV, no. 3 (April, 1933): 66-67. Accessed July 25, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/1109/


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