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date: 14 October 2019

Vase painterslocked

  • D. C. Kurtz,
  • Elizabeth Moignard,
  • John H. Oakley,
  • Jody Maxmin,
  • Heide Mommsen,
  • Lucilla Burn,
  • Mary B. Moore,
  • Nicolas Coldstream,
  • Beth Cohen,
  • Johannes Burow,
  • Maria Pipili,
  • Bettina Jeske,
  • Margot Schmidt,
  • Diana Buitron-Oliver,
  • H. A. G. Brijder,
  • Ian McPhee,
  • Reinhard Stupperich,
  • Adrienne Lezzi-Hafter,
  • Irma Wehgartner,
  • M. A. Tiverios,
  • Thomas Mannack,
  • A. Lebel,
  • L. Berge,
  • Mathias Prange,
  • Susan B. Matheson
  •  and Warren G. Moon


This article covers Greek and South Italian vase painters of the 7th–3rd century bc. Vase painters distinguished by small capital letters have separate biographical entries within this article.

D. C. Kurtz

Ancient Greek vases can be classified by period, place of production, fabric, shape, technique, and decoration. It is also possible to identify styles of individual artists when sufficient vases have been preserved from a single area of production over a significant period and when these display similar decorative figures and patterns. Most Greek vase painters so far identified were active either in Athens during the 6th to 4th centuries bc or in 4th- and 3rd-century bc South Italy. The painters have been more often identified than the potters, partly because scholars have tended to concentrate on vase decoration rather than shape.

Greek vase painting is actually line drawing on the curved surfaces of clay vases made for particular functions to which the figure scenes sometimes allude. Patterns are an integral part of the decoration and remain important even when figures occupy the major part of the painted surface. The rendering of patterns and figures on individual Athenian vases is usually so consistent that one artist must normally have been responsible for both. Since human figures dominate most scenes, it is often assumed that stylistic elements in their execution should be the primary basis for determining attribution. This is, however, incorrect: examination of the figures is only the final stage in the process of attribution. Initially the shape must be examined, then the technique of decoration, the patterns, the iconography, and the overall design of the painted elements. None of these can be assessed in isolation, and attribution remains subjective, although when many features can be taken into account and many contemporary vases are available for comparison this mode of classification is greatly strengthened. Few other art forms, in effect, offer such copious material for attribution....

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Corpus vasorum antiquorum
Enciclopedia dell’arte antica, classica e orientale, 7 vols and suppls (Rome, 1958–73)