The Perfect Bride

Lebes gamikos (nuptial bathing vessel) attributed to the Meidias Painter, terracotta. Athens, circa 450-400 BCE. 8-48.

This terracotta vessel was originally used in the most important ceremony in a Classical Greek woman’s life: her wedding. The bathing ritual both purified the bride and separated her from her life as a child. In this image, the bride, seated on a chair, is elaborately adorned by Eros, Nike, and her attendants. The interior setting refers to the woman’s domain: her home. The jewelry bespeaks the wealth of her father and new husband. It transforms her from an innocent child to a seductive woman. This lebes gamikos imagines the bride turning into the ideal wife: inside the home and artfully adorned to embrace her new responsibilities.

-Yvonne Gonzales