- Gallery Text
Ancient Greek athletic games took place in a religious context. On this mixing bowl for wine and water, competitors in a torch race run toward an altar with a man in priestly robes and the metal water jar (hydria) awarded to the victor. Reflecting actual practice, the youthful runners are shown nude (“gymnastics” comes from Greek gymnos, “naked”). Their bulky bodies and tiny genitalia express physical aptitude and sexual modesty. The olive tree at right suggests that the race honored the goddess Athena and was an Athenian event. The vessel was exported to Gela, a Greek city in Sicily (Italy).
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Manner of Peleus Painter, Greek
- Bell Krater (bowl for mixing wine and water): Torch Race
- Other Titles
- Alternate Title: Red-figure Bell Krater: Torch Race with Prize Hydria; Three Youths
- Work Type
- c. 430-420 BCE
- Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Gela (Sicily)
- Classical period, High
- Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3410, South Arcade
View this object's location on our interactive map
- Physical Descriptions
- 36.1 cm h x 39.6 cm diam. (14 3/16 x 15 9/16 in.)
- Jacob Hirsch, Geneva and Lucerne, (by 1937), sold; to David M. Robinson, Baltimore, MD, (by 1937-1958), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1960.
- State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
- Standard Reference Number
- Beazley Archive Database #213533
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
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- Side A: Torch race: two runners with torches, altar, olive tree, prize hydria (water jar).
Side B: Three youths, one with strigil, another with staff.
Under rim: olive wreath; ground line: meander pattern; tongue pattern at handle attachments.
Recomposed from fragments, with some inpainting.
- Publication History
Susan B. Matheson, Polygnotos and Vase Painting in Classical Athens (The University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), pp. 108-115, pl. 97, p. 115.
Rosalba Panvini and Filippo Giudice, Ta Attika: Attic Figured Vases From Gela, L'Erma di Bretschneider (Rome, 2003), p. 395 (fig. L49), p. a109
Stephen Miller, Ancient Greek Athletics, Yale University Press (New Haven, 2004), p. 141, fig. 227
John J. Herrmann Jr. and Christine Kondoleon, Games for the Gods: The Greek Athlete and the Olympic Spirit, MFA Publications (Boston, MA, 2004), no. 22, pp. 71, 171
Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum, J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA, 2004-2012), II 3.a Purification, Gr. 101 [illust. pl. 2].
Zerrin Iren Boynudelik and Mahmut Boynudelik, The Color of Olive: Olive Images in Art History (Zeytinin Renkleri: Sanat Tarihinde Zeytin Imgesi), Umur Yayinlari (Istanbul, Turkey, 2011), p. 46, ill.
Claire L. Lyons, Michael J. Bennett, and Clemente Marconi, ed., Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome, exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA, 2013), pp. 87, 89, fig. 50
David M. Pritchard, Sport, Democracy and War in Classical Athens, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 2013), p. 77, fig. 2.3.
John Oakley, A Guide to Scenes of Daily Life on Athenian Vases, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, 2020), p. 127, fig. 6.15
- Exhibition History
The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961
Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens, Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, 09/12/1992 - 12/06/1992; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, 01/09/1993 - 04/16/1993; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 05/11/1993 - 08/01/1993; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, 08/31/1993 - 11/28/1993
Veder Greco a Gela, Palazzo Pignatelli, Gela, 01/15/2004 - 03/16/2004
The Greek Athlete and the Games, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 07/20/2004 - 11/28/2004
32Q: 3410 South Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 07/25/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/18/2016 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
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