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A Remarkable Attic Red-figure Chous Attributed to the Group of Boston 10.190: Young Boys Playing Astragals; A Masterpiece of Attic Vase-Painting and Compositional Spatiality

A Remarkable Attic Red-figure Chous Attributed to the Group of Boston 10.190: Young Boys Playing Astragals; A Masterpiece of Attic Vase-Painting and Compositional Spatiality

Terracotta, High Classical, ca. 440-430 B.C.E., Attributed to the Group of Boston 10.190 by C. Watzinger

Condition: Reconstructed from fragments; some losses, especially on front over figural scene, and on legs of crouching boy at left.

On this wine jug three nude boys wearing spiky festal crowns plays astragals (knucklebones). The left and center figures hold their gaming pieces in their hands, while the right-hand boy, who gestures toward his playmates, has just tossed his marker to the ground. The action may depict a variety of the game in which contestants attempt to land their pieces in holes in the ground. The figural panel is framed by a border of descending ovolo bands, above and below, and ascending chevrons at either side.

The Attic chous is a specific shape of oinochoe created especially for the three-day festival of the Anthesteria, held in the spring in honor of Dionysos. On the first day, the Pithoigia, the new wine was opened and tasted. On the second, the Choes, the three-year-old male children of Athens were enrolled in their fathers' phratries (kinship groups). Scenes painted on many choes depict children in their festal clothing, participating in various aspects of the festival or involved in childhood pursuits. A specific miniature variety of the vase was made especially for children, and this diminutive version is often found in burials, presumably of those who died in infancy, as crawling babies are depicted on a number of them. The Fleischman chous is of the standard size used by adults for the drinking contests that took place on the festival's second day. On the third, the Chrytroi, vegetables prepared in cooking pots were offered to Hermes Psychopompos, who conducted the souls of the deceased to the underworld. On this day, the spirits of the dead were free to return from the underworld and roam among the living; they were sent back at the end of the day by the exhortations of the festal participants.

The imagery found on the Fleischman chous is light in tone and reflects the gaiety and various competitions surrounding the festival. The crowns worn by the boys imitate the headdresses worn by many of the torch-racers, participants in a ritual contest of relay teams who conveyed the scared fire from one altar to another. The boys shown here, however, are seemingly too young for such a contest. Numerous other choes depict figures playing knucklebones; none are as fine as the Fleischman chous.

The Painter of Boston 10.190, one of J.D. Beazley's "Late Fifth-Century Pot-Painters," is known from only a small group of three vessels (one fragmentary), all of which are choes. E. Buschor made the original identification of the painter, and C. Watzinger added this vase to the group. The other two vessels in the group depict the komos, one with children (Berlin 2658). Berlin 2658 displays the same descending ovolo borders as the Fleischman chous, and the treatment of the hair with descending tendrils as seen on Boston 10.190 is also the same, as is the side border of ascending chevrons.

Formerly in the Falconi collection, Viterbo; Tyszkiewicz collection, Rome; Behague collection, Paris; thence the collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, New York. Purchased by the Fleischmans from Sotheby's, Monaco, Antiquites et objets d'art: Collection de Martine, Comtesse de Behague provenant de la Succession de Marquis de Ganay, sale cat., December 5, 1987, lot 147.

From the collection of the Getty Villa, Malibu, California.

Reaching for the skies...(My growing son)

Reaching for the skies...(My growing son)

To my grown-up son

Ask the parents of grown up children
And they will tell you
It is better to be able to say "I am glad I did"
Than to have to say "I wish I had"

My hands were busy through the day
I did not have much time to play
The little games you ask me to
I did not have much time for you

I'd wash your clothes; I'd sew and cook
But when you'd bring your picture book
And ask me please to share your fun
I'd say "a little later son"

I'd tuck you in all safe at night
Hear your prayers and turn out the light
Then tiptoe softly to the door
I wish I had stayed a minute more

For life is short and years rush past
A little boy grows up so fast
No longer is he at your side
His precious secrets to confide

The picturebooks are put away
There are no children games to play
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear
That all belongs to yesteryear

My hands once busy now lie still
The days are long and hard to fill
I wish I might go back and do
The little things you asked me to

(This was in Frozen Thought edition and is also available on the net....Very touching poem)

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10.11.2011. u 18:57 • 0 KomentaraPrint#

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