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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Attributed to The Providence Painter, Greek (active c. 485 -475 BCE)
Nolan Amphora (storage jar): Seated Woman and Man with Staff; Draped Man with Staff
Work Type
c. 480-470 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Athens (Attica)
Classical period, Early
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

31.8 x 17.9 cm (12 1/2 x 7 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Two inscriptions in Greek on side A, in red letters, both uncertain:
    1-between the heads of the man and woman ΚΑΛΕ ("beautiful one")
    2-below the man's arm ΚΑΛΟΣ (possibly "handsome one")


Recorded Ownership History
Jacob Hirsch to Frederick M. Watkins, 1950; bequest to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, 1972.

A handwritten note in the 1973 catalogue written by David Mitten quotes a March 5, 1973 letter from Dietrich von Bothmer: "Sold in New York in April 1949, at the Coleman Galleries, at auction. Bought by Ephron (together with ABV 384.19, and a third one). Sold by Ephron to Kontsalakis who resold it the same day to Hirsch."

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
Beazley Archive Database #207394

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Frederick M. Watkins
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This Nolan-type amphora is decorated with the simple composition and limited ornamentation characteristic of this vessel shape (1). On side A, a woman sits in a high backed chair holding a wreath in her arms. At her feet is a kalathos, or wool basket, holding unspun wool. Opposite the woman stands a bearded man in profile. He wears a himation and wreath and leans on his knotty walking staff. With his right arm toward the woman. Between the two figures are two inscription in added red, the second partially obscured by a minor abbrasion: KALE ("beautiful girl") and KA[LOS] ("beautiful boy").

On side B, a bearded man stands in profile to the left. He wears a himation and holds a walking stick.

Decoration and ornament is limited. The figures on both sides stand on a continuous ground line of addorsed, slanted palmettes and a single palmette is located beneath each handle.

1. The Nolan type amphora was favored by the Providence Painter, see Beazley, Attice Red-Figure Vases, (2nd edition), 635-646, 1163.
The vessel represents a scene of courtship or exchange. Courtship scenes appear frequently on red-figure vases of the early fifth century BCE where men are depicted offering gifts to women (e.g. fruits, ribbons, and wreaths). Here, the woman's femininity is emphasized by the wool basket, which was a tool associated with the female task of wool working.

Publication History

  • J. D. Beazley, Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1963), p. 638, no. 43
  • The Frederick M. Watkins Collection, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1973), no. 25
  • Robert Sutton, "The Interaction Between Men and Women Portrayed on Attic Red-Figure Pottery" (1981), p. 404, no. G75
  • Thomas Carpenter, Thomas Mannack, and Melanie Mendonca, ed., Beazley addenda : additional references to ABV, ARV² & Paralipomena, Oxford University Press (UK) (Oxford, 1989), p. 183, no. 37.
  • Ellen Reeder, ed., Pandora: women in classical Greece, exh. cat., Walters Art Gallery and Princeton University Press (Baltimore, MD, 1995)
  • Gloria Ferrari Pinney, Figures of speech: men and maidens in ancient Greece, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, 2002), pp. 30-31, fig. 60.
  • [Reproduction Only], Persephone, (Spring 2004)., p. 26 and 65.
  • Michael Padgett, ed., The Berlin Painter and His World: Athenian vase-painting int he early fifth century B.C., exh. cat., Yale University Press (U.S.) and Princeton University Art Museum (New Haven, 2017), pp. 348-349, no. 73

Exhibition History

  • The Frederick M. Watkins Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/31/1973 - 03/14/1973
  • Pandora's Box: Women in Classical Greece, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, 11/05/1995 - 01/07/1996; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, 02/04/1996 - 03/31/1996; Antikenmuseum und Sammlung Ludwig, Basel, 04/28/1996 - 06/23/1996
  • HAA132e The Ideal of the Everyday in Greek Art (S427) Spring 2012, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 05/12/2012
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/22/2016 - 01/08/2017
  • The Berlin Painter and his World: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, 03/04/2017 - 06/11/2017; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, 07/07/2017 - 10/01/2017

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at