About This Artwork

Greek; Apulia, Italy
Attributed to the Baltimore Painter

Knob-Handled Patera (Dish), 330/320 B.C.

Terra-cotta, red-figure technique
17.7 x 67.3 x 68.5 cm (7 x 26 1/2 x 27 in.)

Katherine K. Adler Memorial Fund, 1984.10

The circular dish with knobs alongside its handles is a characteristically Apulian vessel. A patera was typically used to pour libations, but this example is unusually large. Bands of varying width containing repetitive patterns and scrolling tendrils interrupted by female heads surround a central scene depicting Hermes, the god of travelers, leading the harvest goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone from the underworld, where the girl had been held captive by Hades. Persephone was forced to return for part of every year, and during that time Demeter’s displeasure would cause the fertile earth to turn barren. Her story symbolized the life, death, and rebirth of both crops and people.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

The Art Institute of Chicago, Ancient Art Galleries, Gallery 155, April 20, 1994 - February 6, 2012.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Of Gods and Glamour: The Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art, Gallery 151, November 11, 2012 - present.

Publication History

A.D. Trendall & Alexander Cambitoglou. First Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia. Bulletin Suppplement, no. 42, (Univ. of London: Institute of Classical studies, 1983), p. 158 (67b), plate XXX-#3.

Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report 1983-84, p. 47.

Intercontinental Antiquity Corporation, California, Rare Apulian Antiquities from the 4th century B.C.E. (1981) no. 3986 (ill. on p. 4).




Interpretive Resources

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