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Red-Figure Cup (Kylix) with Lyre-Player and Athletes

Attributed To Aison
Culture Greek
Title Red-Figure Cup (Kylix) with Lyre-Player and Athletes
Date 450–400 BCE
Medium Terracotta
Dimensions Overall: 3 1/8 in. (8 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Michele and Shelley Fratianni, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 98.539

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About this Work

The exterior of this stemmed drinking cup portrays two athletic scenes within the Greek gymnasium. Each scene depicts a nude athlete, a trainer carrying a stick, and a male who observes the activity. One athlete is in the midst of his training, working with either a ball or discus. The other, cleansing himself with a strigil (scraper), has completed his exercises. On the interior of the vessel, a lyre player stands within a circular tondo framed by a patterned border. Both athletics and music were important elements in the education of aristocratic young men: physical training was a social obligation of the elite, and music was recognized as an intellectual pursuit honoring the gods.

Red-Figure pottery developed in response to the black-figure technique. Principle aspects of design were preserved but the overall effect is reversed: rather than creating a black figure on a reserved ground, the figure is reserved (in the red of the clay) and the background is covered in a black gloss. The details in the figures could then be painted on, rather than incised. This development allowed for greater fluidity and was useful to artists who were increasingly interested in movement and naturalism.

1998, Gift to the Indiana University Art Museum from Michele and Shelley Fratianni, Bloomington, IN

? –1998, Collection of Michele (born 1941) and Shelley Fratianni, Bloomington, IN [1]


[1] Michele Ugo Fratianni was a professor of business and economics policy at the Kelly School of Business, Indiana University.

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.

October 3–December 21, 2014, "Color in Classical Art," Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN

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"Red-Figure Cup (Kylix) with Lyre-Player and Athletes | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.