© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

It was the main duty of a Greek man to defend his city and of a Greek woman to bear children. This water jar presents a picture-perfect family: a young mother, a lively baby boy being handed to a nursemaid, and a youthful husband. A loom signals the accomplishments of the mistress of the house. The scene’s calm mood is typical for the High Classical period of the mid-fifth century BCE and prevails on grave reliefs showing similar family groups. In fact, a hole pierced in the vessel’s base renders it useless to the living and suitable for a tomb.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1960.342
Title
Hydria (water jar): Family Scene
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Red-figure Hydria (Kalpis): Family Scene in a Domestic Setting
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
440-430 BCE
Places
Find Spot: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Vari (Attica)
Period
Classical period, High
Culture
Greek
Location
Level 3, Room 3410, South Arcade
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Terracotta
Technique
Red-figure
Dimensions
H 34.6 x Diam 24.6 cm (13 5/8 x 9 11/16 in.)
Diam w/ handles 30.2 cm (11 7/8 in.)
Provenance
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 #8184
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
Accession Year
1960
Object Number
1960.342
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Domestic scene, father, mother, child and nurse; loom in background. Mended.
Publication History

Eva C. Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), p. 73, fig. 58

Brian A. Sparkes, ed., Greek civilization: an introduction, Blackwell Publishers (Oxford, UK; Malden, Mass., USA, 1998), 238/14.3

Karen-Hanne Stærmose Nielsen, Kirkes Væv: Opstadvævens historie og nutidige brug, Historisk-Arkaeologisk Forsogscenter Lejre (Lejre, Denmark, 1999), p. 75, fig. 41

Pierre Brulé, Women of Ancient Greece, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, 2003), p. 166

Icons and Power: The Mother of God in Byzantium (2006)

Gabriel Herman, Morality and Behaviour in Democratic Athens: A Social History, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK, 2006), p. 180, fig. 5.1

Marie-Claire Crelier, Kinder in Athen: im gesellschaftlichen Wandel des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. (Remshalden, Germany, 2008), p. 262; n.p. H3, ill.

Elena Walter-Karydi, Die Athener und ihre Gräber (1000 – 300 v. Chr.), De Gruyter (Berlin, 2015), pp. 328-329, fig. 209

Stella Spantidaki, Textile Production in Classical Athens, 2016, p. 54, fig. 5.7

Exhibition History

The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961

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

Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past, Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, 08/23/2003 - 12/14/2003; Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, New York, 01/20/2004 - 04/15/2004; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, 05/21/2004 - 08/01/2004; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 09/14/2004 - 12/16/2004

HAA132e The Ideal of the Everyday in Greek Art (S427) Spring 2012, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 05/12/2012

32Q: 3410 South Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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 am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu