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Home > Auctions > 4th June 2024 > Greek Chalcidian Black-Figure Amphora with Heracles and Nemean Lion

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LOT 0086

GBP (£) 50,000 - 70,000
EUR (€) 58,700 - 82,180
USD ($) 63,720 - 89,200

Opening Bid
£25,000 (EUR 29,351; USD 31,858) (‡+bp*)

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CIRCA 650-575 B.C.
17 1/8 in. (3.1 kg, 43.5 cm).

With two figural scenes: Side A: the first of the canonical labours of Heracles, the fight against the Nemean lion - in the centre the hero standing over the lion, strangling it with his left arm while thrusting his sword into its neck; two other standing figures witness the fight - on the right Athena, fully armed and ready to defend Heracles with her lance, and to the left Hermes, recognisable by his hat (petasos), winged boots and the caduceus; Side B: a nude horseman, holding his lance and accompanied by his dog, walking towards a king seated on his throne, holding a sceptre in his left hand; on the far right, a standing woman, probably the king's wife; a sphinx under the throne and two flying birds; some restoration.

Ex German private collection.
with Hampel Kunst Auction, Munich, 2012, no.867.
Private European collection, thence by family descent.

Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D’Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by a search certificate number no.12069-218134.

Cf. Boardman, J., Early Greek Vase Painting, London, 1998, p.219ff., ill.483-484, p.245 for a comparison; see neck amphora with Heracles killing the Nemean Lion, in the Harvard University, inventory no.1960.312, in Robinson, D. M., ‘Unpublished Greek Vases in the Robinson Collection,’ in American Journal of Archaeology (1956), 60.1, 1-25, p.7-9, no. 8, pl.5; cf. a similar terracotta neck-amphora (jar) attributed to the Polyphemos Group in the Metropolitan Museum, accession no.46.11.5.

The shape is typical of the period, and is decorated with black-figured technique, in which the figures were silhouetted in black slip on a reddish clay ground, and linear elements were incised with a needle, with additional details painted with white and cherry red-slip. The amphora seems to belong to one of the sub-types of the ‘Pseudo-Chalcidian’ group (the Poliphemus group), derived from the main Chalcidian series