The vessel has an ovoid body set on a stepped foot. The high concave cylindrical neck flares slightly towards the discoid lip from which rises a twisted arching handle with a suspension hole.
Pierre Berès (1913 - 2008) Collection, Paris, acquired prior to 1970
Christie's, Paris, Berès A Livre Ouvert, 12-13 December 2012, lot 394
Pierre Berès was described shortly after his death as 'a legendary figure in the world of art, collecting and publishing'. He was a friend of Picasso and Éluard, and the publisher of Barthes and Aragon, and a renowned bookseller and collector of works of the finest taste and connoisseurship
The bail-amphora is distinctive for its handle extending upwards. The workshops of the potters and painters of southern Italy produced vases for a Greek clientele established in coastal colonies such as Taranto, Metapontum and Cumae, as well as for the indigenous population. While most shapes in South Italian vase-painting have their origins in Attic models, the bail-amphora is indigenous and exclusively Campanian in origin.
Bail-amphorae are more commonly decorated in red figure with additional polychrome. This example is an elegant and minimalist purely black-glazed form. Cf. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Capua, Museo Campano 3, IV.E.G.9, pl. 1307, 4.2 (inv. no. 8361). For discussion of the form see M.E. Mayo, K. Hamma, The Art of South Italy: Vases from Magna Graecia, Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1982, no. 90, pp. 206-7.