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Greek vase made 2,500 years ago set to break world record at auction

Vase may have been created by Arthenian artist the Swing Painter
Vase may have been created by Arthenian artist the Swing Painter

A remarkable ancient Greek amphora vase that dates from 550BC could set a world record when it goes under the hammer on Tuesday.‌

It is believed that the object was created as a work of art rather than a storage jar and its estimate is £40,000 to £60,000.‌

Experts have concluded that it was produced by the “Swing Painter” – a recognised Athenian artist.‌

Standing more than 15 inches high (39cm) and weighing 3.25kg, the work of art is being sold by a private British owner.‌

The surface depicts a fearsome winged Gorgon and an aristocratic warrior who is helmeted in Chalcidian style and driving a four-horse chariot.‌

Beneath the primary scenes is a frieze of lotus buds and a band of Greek key motifs, and the neck is adorned with alternating red and black palmettes and elongated lotus blossoms.

‌Aaron Hammond, of Timeline Auctions in Harwich, Essex, said: “This is an astonishing survivor and could set a world record price.

‌“Its narrative bridges the worlds of legend and history to speak to us of the artistic legacy of ancient Greece and the timeless attraction of its myths and heroes.”

‌He added that the sculptor merged clay and pigment “to create a testament to the vibrancy and depth of Athenian culture” during the 6th century BC.

Storage vase was likely made as art rather than a practical item
Storage vase was likely made as art rather than a practical item

‌Ancient Greek painters rarely signed their work so classical archaeologists named them after their styles.‌

In this case, the painter of  amphora was known to have painted a vase with a garden swing which is why it has been nicknamed ‘The Swing Painter’.‌

He added: “He was working in Athens in the late 6th century and his black figure output included many mythological subjects.

‌“Usually these vases were made to hold olive oil, wine, milk, or grain, but this is more likely to have been a decorative object.

‌“Collectors will be excited by the vase coming onto the market.”

‌The amphora was acquired in Geneva in 1954 and once belonged to the Y. Forrer collection before finding its way into a private collection in Switzerland in 1999.

‌It passed through the hands of Gorny & Mosch in Munich and is owned by a British collector.

‌The previous record for a vase of this type is at the lower end of the estimate for this example.