July 3 Art Minute: The Triptolemus Painter, Kylix (drinking cup) with Athletes and Trainers

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Greek, Attic, attributed to the Triptolemus Painter, Kylix (drinking cup) with Athletes and Trainers. Red–figure; wheel thrown, slip–decorated earthenware, about 490 BCE. Height: 5 5/16 inches. Diameter lip: 12 3/4 inches. Diameter with handles: 16 1/8 inches. Diameter foot: 4 13/16 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1961.26. Classic Court (Gallery 2)

Greek, from Athens, attributed to the Triptolemus Painter, Kylix (drinking cup) with Athletes and Trainers. Red–figure; wheel thrown, slip–decorated earthenware, about 490 BCE. Height: 5 5/16 inches. Diameter lip: 12 3/4 inches. Diameter with handles: 16 1/8 inches. Diameter foot: 4 13/16 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1961.26. Classic Court (Gallery 2)

Both the interior and exterior of this kylix show athletes with their trainers. One side of the exterior shows young men with javelins. The interior and the other exterior side show boxers. Several of them are wrapping their hands with leather thongs. Unlike modern boxing gloves, the thongs were not meant to soften the blows, but to protect the boxers’ hands. Greek boxing was a brutal sport. Blows to the body were not often used. Instead most of the effort was concentrated on the face and head.

The Triptolemos Painter is an anonymous Athenian artist who was identified from his painting style and given his name by modern scholars from a vase showing legendary Greek prince Triptolemos. This name vase is in the Louvre Museum.


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