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Paestan Red-Figure Hydria: Asteas

An ancient Paestan Greek red-figure hydria. On the obverse: Argus, the nymph, Io, and Hermes. Io is seated upon a rocky outcrop wearing a peplos with a decorated hem. Upon her head is a jeweled diadem with a cow horn frontlet. Her name is inscribed above her. On the reverse: A large palmette motif. On the sides of the vessel are painted profiles of a woman wearing a sakkos and jewelry. Attributed to Asteas.

Paestum, Magna Graecia, Southern Italy.

Ca. 350 – 340 BC.

Height: 19 1/4 in. (49 cm).

Asteas was one of the leading painters in Paestum from 360 BC to 340 BC. He signed 11 vases that have come down to us. The vases that he signed were among the most ambitious scenes he painted. His abundant less pretentious works were often livelier and more attractive examples of popular provincial art. A large number of vases have been attributed to his hand on the basis of style.Io, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of the river god Inachus and the Oceanid Melia. Under the name of Callithyia, Io was the first priestess of Hera, the wife of Zeus. Zeus fell in love with Io, enraging Hera. To protect her from the wrath of Hera, changed her into a white heifer, which Hera than kept under the close watch of Argus. Zeus dispatched Hermes to slay Argus and set the nymph Io free. Hermes sang Argus to sleep, used his magic wand to seal Argus’s eyes shut, and decapitated Argus. Io was left to wander the world, crossing the Bosporos, and eventually settling in Egypt.The output and quality of the Greek colonial potters working in Southern Italy increased greatly following the Peloponnesian War when Attic exports fell off sharply. South Italian Colonial Greek craftsmanship of the 4th century BC was an amalgamation of the Ionian (Athenian, Attic) conventions, and Doric (western colonial Greek) styles, with a noticeable native Italian aesthetic. The five predominant regional schools of South Italian pottery were: Apulian, Sicilian, Lucanian, Paestan, and Campanian.

Formerly in a Belgian private collection.

Inv#: 8651

Price On Request

Guaranteed Authentic

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