Attic Black-Figure Amphora

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Attic Black-Figure Amphora

C. 530-529 B.C.
H: 45cm



Fine Attic black-figure vase with a small foot, narrow neck and tight handles depicting: on one side, the fourth labour of Hercules, the capture of the wild Boar of Mount Erymanthus, showing the hero delivering the defeated boar to Eurystheus, king of Tiryns, who cowers in a half-buried jar. Athena stands to his left, and Hermes to his right. On the opposing side,  two female figures, possibly goddesses (Beazley suggests possibly Demeter and Persephone), are drawn seated in a chariot pulled by two winged horses. A woman honours them with a raised wreath and a youth walks ahead of the horses. Around the neck of the vase is a band of palmettes.  

In black-figure vase painting, figural and ornamental motifs were applied with a slip that turned black during firing, while the background was left the colour of the clay – here there must have been a problem with the heat of the kiln and the resulting carbonisation of the applied slip, as the motifs are still a pale red, giving the whole vase a rather beautiful and ethereal overall effect.  J. D. Beazley (1971) attributes this to a painter of the Princeton Group.


Beazley Archives, No. 340539 (catalogued as in a Private Collection in Switzerland).
J. D. Beazley, Paralipomena, Oxford 1971, 130.5BIS.
T. H. Carpenter, with T. Mannack and M. Mendonca, Beazley Addenda, 2nd Edition, (Oxford, 1989), 78.
(Drawing of side 2) Representations of Athena in black-figured amphorae of the sixth century BCE: an exercise of iconographic/Representacoes de Atena em anforas de figuras negras do seculo VI a.C.: um exercicio de analise iconografica. Larissa de Souza Correia and Camila Diogo de Souza, Revista do Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia(Issue 25) 2015.
David Aaron Ltd, 2023, No. 16.


Previously in the Private Collection of Dr. Athos Moretti (1907-1993), Bellinzona, Switzerland, since the 1950/60s.
With Pino Donati, Molinazzo di Montaggio, Switzerland, acquired from the above towards the end of the 1970s.
Paris art market.
ALR: S00218934, with IADAA certificate, this item has been searched against the Interpol database.

Note on the Provenance

Dr Athos D. Moretti (1907-1993) was the director of the major Swiss pharmaceutical company Maestretti who initially collected paintings. In the 1950s, at the urging of his wife, he switched to coins, and in time built up significant collections of Greek silver, Roman gold, and Milanese coins of all eras. A generous patron of art and scholarship, he made his collections widely available for study and financed the publication of several important references. His gold collection was bought en bloc by Numismatic Fine Arts and sold anonymously at auction between 1989 and 1991. Very discrete during his lifetime, Moretti possessed a keen eye for quality and his collection pedigree has become highly prized since his passing.