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Red-Figure Mixing Bowl (Column-Krater) with Symposium Scene and Gymnasium Scene

Attributed To The Hephalstos Painter
Culture Greek
Title Red-Figure Mixing Bowl (Column-Krater) with Symposium Scene and Gymnasium Scene
Date 450–430 BCE
Medium Terracotta and added color
Dimensions Overall: 15 × 13 13/16 × 11 3/4 in. (38.1 × 35.1 × 29.8 cm)
Credit Line Museum purchase with funds from Dietrich von Bothmer and the Thomas T. Solley Endowed Fund for the Curator of Ancient Art, 2005, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2005.1

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About this Work

A scene typical of the Greek symposium is depicted on one side of this column krater. A "symposium" in Greek society referred to a party—it had the potential to be an intellectual affair (as in our modern academic use) or a fun-loving and possibly raucous gathering. Two young men recline on their couches, with the figure on the left holding his cup and the one on the right, his lyre. Between the pair, a young servant girl plays the double-flute (aulos).

The other side of the mixing bowl depicts a gymnasium scene. Gymnasia were used as fitness and sports centers in ancient Greece, just as they are today. They were also important public gathering spaces for men in Greek society. The young men depicted here are shown talking rather than actively participating in athletics. However, they hold objects related to sports: balls and a strigil.

Since Greek wine was too harsh to drink on its own, undiluted wine was considered uncivilized to drink—and vessels of this type were used to mix wine with water. Proportions were determined by the host.

2005, Indiana University Art Museum purchase from Robert Haber & Associates Ancient Art, New York, NY

2003–2005, with Robert Haber & Associates Ancient Art, New York, NY [1]

ca. 2003, with Christie's, New York, NY [2]

probably 1992–2003, unknown private collection

1986–ca. 1992, unknown private collection

ca. 1984–1986, with Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Basel, Switzerland [3]

? –1984, Collection of Ferruccio Bolla, Lugano, Switzerland [4]


[1] This gallery in New York (NY) was established by Robert Haber in 1982.

[2] Sale record at Christies Auction House (New York, NY): Catalogue of Antiquities Sale, 11 December 2003, cat. no. 152, p. 108. Provenance note: "Acquired by the current owner in 1992."

[3] Sale record at Münzen und Medaillen A.G. (Basel, Switzerland): Catalogue of Auction 70, 14 November 1986, cat. no. 186, p. 57. Greek vases for sale were identiied as being from the Estate of Dr. Ferruccio Bolla, Lugano."

[4] Ferruccio Bolla (1911-1984) was a Swiss lawyer, judge, and politician. He also had a passion for classical art; he served as president of the Ticino section of the Society for Swiss Art History and founded (with Ernesto Bernareggi) the journal, Numismatica e Antichita Classiche: Quaderni Ticinesi.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Red-Figure Mixing Bowl (Column-Krater) with Symposium Scene and Gymnasium Scene | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.