Red-figure column krater

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Attributed to the Agrigento Painter
Greek, Attic
About 475–450 BCE
39 x 31.2 cm
Yale University Art Gallery: Gift of Allison V. Armour, B.A. 1884; 1933.175

This red-figure krater features two male courtship scenes. In the Classical era, such scenes were commonly used as decoration for drinking or mixing vessels such as the krater. On Side A, this krater illustrates two pairs of suitors (erastai) and potential lovers (eromenoi). The older suitors carry staffs to indicate their age and sometimes also wear beards, which are frequently used in vase painting to show an older figure. In this particular depiction, one of the suitors offers his beloved a courtship gift of a hare. A strigil, an instrument used at the gymnasium (a place of athletic exercise), floats in the background. On Side B, two suitors court the same boy, one offering an aryballos, or oil container. Gift-giving was a common way of illustrating courtship in Classical vase-painting.

This text was prepared by Elizabeth Neill, Class of 2013, based on her paper for Professor Rutter’s Classical Studies 22: Greek Classical Archaeology: City-States and Pan-Hellenic Sanctuaries.

Not on view

Additional views (3)

Side B

Side A, detail

Side B, detail









Student essay

Courtship Scenes in Fifth-Century Attic Pottery: A Closer Look at Classical Iconography
by Elizabeth Neill, Class of 2013.


12611, Altenburg, Staatliches Lindenau-Museum, 276; column krater, 475-425 BCE
214590, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, 909; column krater, 475 to 425 BCE
14749, San Francisco (CA), M.H. de Young Mememorial Museum, 230.24872; bell krater, 475-425 BCE
214726, Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, M1213; column krater, 475 to 425 BCE

Suggested online resources

Beazley Archive Online
Perseus Database Online
,“Yale 1933.175.”

Further reading

Dover, Kenneth J. Greek Homosexuality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978.

Frontisi-Ducroux, Francoise. “Eros, Desire and the Gaze,” chapter six in Sexuality in Ancient Art, ed. Natalie Boymel Kampen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Hubbard, T.K. “Popular Perceptions of Elite Homosexuality in Classical Athens.” Arion: Third Series, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring – Summer, 1998), 48–78.

Stewart, Andrew. Classical Greece and the Birth of Western Art. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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