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Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion


Culture: Greek, Athenian
Date: c. 520–500 BCE
Medium: Ceramic
H. 43.5 cm (17 1/8 inches) D. of mouth 19.5 cm (7 5/8 inches) D. of foot 15.5 cm (6 1/8 inches)
Classification: Decorative Art
Credit Line: Gift of Barbara Newborg, M.D., from the collection of Walter Kempner, M.D.
Label Text:Europa was the daughter of King Agenor of Tyre, a city in ancient Phoenecia. According to the ancient Greek myth, she was playing with her handmaidens on the beach one day when Zeus, who became enamored of her, appeared before her in the guise of a bull, kneeling before her. Pleased by the apparent gentleness of the creature, she climbed on its back. As he carried her off, she steadied herself by holding on to one of his horns, as she does here. He swam with her to Crete and seduced her. Europa had three sons by Zeus, including the future King Minos. The subject of this vase was previously thought to represent a maenad, follower of Bacchus, and research continues to confirm its depiction.

This vase was found at Vulci in Etruria (Italy) almost two hundred years ago and has a very distinguished provenance; in 1825 it was presented by Lucien Bonaparte to the Duke of Buckingham. It is part of an important gift to the Nasher Museum in 2006 of almost two hundred ancient Greek works of art, ranging from the Cycladic (3rd millennium BCE) to the Classical period (3rd century BCE).

Provenance: Provenance: From Stowe Collection, Vulci. Ex. Coll. Lucien Bonaparte, Duke of Buckingham, Mrs. Eileen Craufurd, J. Guma Conde de Lagunillas.
Object number: 2006.1.38
In Collection(s)