Attributed to the Ampersand Painter Greek; Corinth
About this artwork
Located on the narrow isthmus that joins the Greek mainland and the Peloponnese, with natural harbors facing east and west, Corinth was the major port of trade in Greece for most of the Archaic period (700–480BC). Producers exported scented oil around the Mediterranean in terra-cotta containers that survive today in the thousands.
Around the time that this jar was made, Egypt’s king, Amasis (r. 570–526 B.C.), in the interest of trade, gave the Greeks the Egyptian port city of Naucratis, where Greek and Egyptian cultures mingled. The small sphinx on this jar is indicative of this cultural encounter, as Greeks would have been familiar with the part human, part-lion creatures, which lined the entryway to most Egyptian temples. Including a sphinx on this jar added a touch of the exotic East, which would have appealed to the citizens of Corinth.
The identities of most Greek vase painters are unknown, so sometimes they are named after a distinctive feature. The artist who decorated this container is called the Ampersand Painter because here and elsewhere the looping tail of the sphinx (a winged feline with a human head) takes the shape of an ampersand, the proper name for the symbol &, which is shorthand for the word “and”.
IIIF Manifest The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.
Jack L. Benson, Die Geschichte der korinthischen Vasen (Basel, 1953), p. 51, list 84 no. 1.
Luisa Banti, “Pittore di Ampersand,” Enciclopedia dell’ Arte Antica 1 (1958), p. 324.
Jack L. Benson, “The Ampersand Painter,” American Journal of Archaeology vol. 64, no. 3 (July 1960), p. 282.
Humfry Payne, Necrocorinthia (College Park: McGrath Publishing Co., 1971), p. 307, no. 898, pl. 29, 7.
Darrell A. Amyx, “Dodwelliana,” California Studies in Classical Antiquity, vol. 4 (1971), p. 41, no. 2, pl. 15.
Warren G. Moon, “The Ampersand Painter,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago, vol. 70, no. 5 (September-October 1976), pp. 20-23.
Warren G. Moon and Louise Berge, Greek Vase-Painting in Midwestern Collections (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1979), pp. 34-35, cat. no. 21.
Darrell A. Amyx, Corinthian Vase-Painting of the Archaic Period (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p. 218 no. A-3, 385, pl. 90, 1a-d.
William R. Biers, Art, Artefacts, and Chronology in Classical Archaeology (New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 50-51, fig. 18.
John Griffiths Pedley, “Ancient Art at The Art Institute of Chicago,” The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 20, 1 (1994), pp. 37-38 (ill.), cat. no. 18 (described wrongly as Late Corinthian).
Roberta Casagrande-Kim, ed., When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra. Exh. cat. (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University/Princeton University Press, 2014), p. 104, cat. 125.
Art Institute of Chicago, Greek Vase-Painting in Midwestern Collections, December 22, 1979 - February 24, 1980.
Art Institute of Chicago, Ancient Art Galleries, Gallery 155, April 20, 1994 - February 6, 2012.
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 - October 23, 2013.
Art Institute of Chicago, When the Greeks Ruled: Egypt After Alexander the Great, October 31, 2013 - July 27, 2014; traveled to New York, NY, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, October 8, 2014 - January 4, 2015.
Art Institute of Chicago, Of Gods and Glamour: The Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art, Gallery 151, January 21, 2015 - present.
Said to have been found in Attica. Private collection, France; sold to Charles L. Hutchinson (1854-1924) and Martin A. Ryerson (1856-1932), Chicago, 1890; on loan to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1890-1905; sold to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1905.
Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.