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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.

I. Attribution.

  • 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.

Greek vases are rarely signed by either painter or potter, and no artist whose signature survives is mentioned in contemporary sources. Greek vase painting is wholly undocumented, and most artists’ signatures occur on Athenian 6th- and 5th-century bc Black-figure and Red-figure vases. Painters signed with the verb egrapsen (‘painted’), potters with the verb epoiesen (‘made’). Makers may have fashioned the vase or simply supervised its production, and they appear to have been senior to painters. Using these two types of signature, the significance of which was not then fully understood, some later 19th-century scholars began to attribute signed Athenian vases to individual artists. Results were, however, inconclusive or misleading. Then, from 1911, J(ohn) D(avidson) Beazley began to publish attributions of unsigned vases to unknown artists whom he named, often after museums housing their work (e.g. the Berlin Painter) or after a favourite subject (e.g. the Gorgon Painter). Over a period of more than 50 years he assigned more than 50,000 vases to over 1000 artists, classes, and groups, publishing these attributions in what have become the standard reference works on the subject (Beazley, 1942, 1956, and 1971). Beazley left approximately the same number of vases unassigned.

Beazley’s method was undoubtedly influenced by Giovanni Morelli’s work on Renaissance painters, popularized in England by Bernard Berenson c. 1900. Morelli’s system depended on detailed scrutiny of draughtsmanship, especially of the human body, and he particularly recommended the study of drawings, since these reveal use of lines more clearly than paintings. As line drawing involving human figures, Greek vase painting was admirably suited to Morellian morphological analysis. Beazley supplemented this approach with careful study of the features peculiar to Greek vases. In doing this he created his own method of attribution, which was subsequently applied to Corinthian vases by his pupil H. G. G. Payne, to Greek vases of South Italy by A. D. Trendall, and to various Archaic Greek vases by other scholars.


  • H. G. G. Payne: Necrocorinthia: A Study of Corinthian Art in the Archaic Period (Oxford, 1931)
  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Citharoedus’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.22 (1942), pp. 70–98
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963)
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956)
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971)
  • C. M. Robertson: ‘Beazley and After’, Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, vol.27 (1976), pp. 29–46
  • D. C. Kurtz: ‘Beazley and the Connoisseurship of Greek Vases’, Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vol.3 (Malibu, CA, 1986), pp. 237–50
  • D. C. Kurtz, ed.: Lectures on Greek Vases by J. D. Beazley (Oxford, 1989)
  • A. D. Trendall: Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily (London, 1989)
  • T. Rasmussen and N. J. Spivey: Looking at Greek Vases (Cambridge and New York, 1991)
  • M. Robertson: The Art of Vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge and New York, 1992/R1996)
  • J. Boardman: Early Greek Vase Painting: 11th–6th Centuries bc: A Handbook (New York, 1998)
  • J. Boardman: The History of Greek Vases: Potters, Painters, and Pictures (New York, 2001)
  • F. Lissarrague and B. Eskenazi: Greek Vases: The Athenians and their Images (New York, 2001)
  • L. A. Buboltz: Dance Scenes in Early Archaic Greek Vase-painting (diss., Harvard U., 2002)
  • A. J. Clark, M. Elston, and M. L. Hart: Understanding Greek Vases: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques (Los Angeles, 2002)

II. Painters.

Acheloos Painter

  • Elizabeth Moignard

(fl c. 525–c. 500 bc).

Greek vase painter. His name vase was a Black-figure neck amphora (untraced; ex-Berlin, Antikensamml.; see Corp. Vasorum Ant., Berlin v, pl. 26.1) showing Herakles fighting the river god Acheloos. He is one of the few members of the Leagros group with a large enough oeuvre to be given a separate list of attributions by Beazley, who viewed him as a genuine member of the group but suggested that his different outlook set him apart from the others. His choice of the larger vase shapes—mainly amphorae and hydria—is conventional for the group, but he also painted a number of smaller vases that appear on stylistic grounds to be later. His choice of subject-matter also differs in emphasis from the rest of the Leagros group: he liked to paint scenes with Herakles but not Troy, and he deliberately chose comic episodes. His other favourite subjects were symposia and the associated dancing; his revellers are usually middle-aged and corpulent, not the more normal elegant youths, and he frequently burlesqued the conventions of such scenes.

His style of drawing and composition is clearly that of the Leagros group: his scenes are large and dark, his figures big and long-legged, with a distinctive trunklike nose, especially in his comic scenes. All his work is Black-figure with little added colour. He shows less interest than the rest of the Leagros group in the observation of anatomical detail and generally composed his scenes with fewer figures and less overlap. His interest was in behaviour, and his best painting includes his revellers, large, confident women (e.g. Cambridge, Fitzwilliam, GR 125, 1864) and some attractive animals: a frightened bull, a dog reaching for food from a table when his owner’s attention is distracted (Moignard), a Kerberos behaving like any nervous dog. The Acheloos Painter’s most important characteristic is his talent for comedy, most distinctively illustrated by his painting on a vase described by Beazley (1951): Herakles, a hulking, messy figure, is not always in control of what is happening; the boar is escaping from him. On the other side of the same vase Herakles is not sure that he will get away with the apples of the Hesperides. The hero is shown at his most human and least successfully heroic. In this aspect of his work the Acheloos Painter foreshadows later tendencies to use serious mythological figures for comic effect.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Attic Black-figure: A Sketch’, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.14 (1928), pp. 28, 46–7, pls 14–15
  • E. Langlotz: Griechische Vasen in Würzburg (Munich, 1932), pls 41, 52
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 86–7, 116, pls 42–3
  • D. von Bothmer: ‘Attic Black-figured Pelikai’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.71 (1951), pp. 40–42
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 382–7, 696
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 168–70
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (London, 1974), p. 111, figs 209–11
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)
  • E. A. Moignard: ‘The Acheloos Painter and Relations’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.71 (1982), pp. 201–11, pls 7–14
  • E. J. Holmberg: The Red-line Painter and the Workshop of the Acheloos Painter (Jonsered, 1990)

Achilles Painter [Meletos Painter]

  • John H. Oakley

(fl c. 470–c. 425 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after an Attic Red-figure amphora depicting Achilles (Rome, Vatican, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco). He studied under the Berlin Painter late in the latter’s career and apparently took over the commission for Black-figure Panathenaic amphorae from his workshop. However, the vast majority of some 300 vases ascribed to him are either Red-figure or, slightly more often, White-ground works. He was the greatest White-ground lekythos painter, and his simple, balanced compositions with quiet, emotionless figures parallel the High Classical style of the Parthenon sculptures (see fig.). In Red-figure he favoured Nolan amphorae and lekythoi, though he also decorated a few larger shapes, such as neck amphorae, loutrophoroi, kraters, and stamnoi, as well as a skyphos, a dinos, a pointed amphora, pelikai, hydriai, and oinochoai. Among his specialities were squat lekythoi decorated with a bust above a line in added white that ran around the lower body of the vase.

Achilles Painter (attrib.): Lekythos depicting a mourner at a tomb, terracotta, h. 14 3/4 in. (37.39 cm), Attic White-ground, ca. 440 BC (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989, Accession ID:1989.281.72)

Beazley originally assigned many of the Achilles Painter’s early Red-figure works (c. 470–c. 450 bc) to a ‘Meletos Painter’ until he realized that the two painters were the same man. At first his drawing style was tentative and similar to that of the Berlin Painter, whose preferred later subjects, such as fleeing women and gods pursuing their lovers, he also shared. However, the Achilles Painter’s fine, steady line and his excellent draughtsmanship are already evident on several early vases including a large bell krater with a man and a realistically depicted old warrior, perhaps Tereus and Pandion (New York, Met., 07.286.81).

During the Achilles Painter’s middle and late career (c. 450–c. 425 bc) his drawing style matured and stabilized, though his Red-figure works vary in quality. Several are rather summary and repetitious depictions of his favourite scenes, such as Eos Pursuing Kephalos or Tithonos, and a youth leaving home, while many of the figures on the backs of his Nolan amphorae, pelikai, and small kraters are almost identical. However, some of his Red-figure vases are extremely fine and apparently influenced by monumental art. Achilles on the artist’s name-piece recalls the Doryphoros of Polykleitos, while the Amazonomachy on a large calyx krater (Ferrara, Mus. N. Archeol., 2890 T 1052) seems to have been inspired by wall painting, for in this work the painter abandoned his usual simple, static scenes for one with many figures caught up in the turmoil of combat. What inspired the masterpiece on a calyx krater (Malibu, CA, Getty Mus., 77.AE.44.1) with Herakles Giving his Bow and Arrows to Philoktetes is uncertain. However, these vases are all distinguished by dilute glaze colouring and sometimes shading, great attention to detail and extremely careful drawing. His final works, on the other hand, suggest a decline in the artist’s powers.

The Achilles Painter’s White-ground lekythoi are more uniformly excellent, and he clearly led the development of such vases. Many White-ground lekythoi by contemporary artists such as the Bird Painter and Thanatos Painter follow his compositions and figure types. As on his early Red-figure, the drawing on his early White-ground vases (c. 460–c. 450 bc) is stiff, and the themes and composition are restricted. Two women are normally depicted facing each other, both standing or one standing and one sitting. Their exposed skin is emphasized in applied white. Dromippos, son of Dromokleidos, and Diphilos, son of Melanopos, are the kalos names he used most frequently in this period. During his middle career (c. 450–c. 435 bc) scenes with two women continued, but two figures on either side of a tomb also became a common subject. Applied white was no longer used, while golden dilute glaze replaced brown dilute glaze for the outlines. Hygiainon and Axiopeithes, son of Alkimachos, were the preferred names in his kalos inscriptions. One masterpiece (Berlin, Antikenmus., 1983.1) with a warrior and an old man grieving at a tomb is a transitional piece with characteristics of both early and middle periods. Two other masterpieces from his middle career, a lekythos with Two Muses at Mt Helikon (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., ex-Schoen 80) and another with a warrior and a woman (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1818;), have the serene atmosphere, simple, relaxed figures, and balanced composition typical of his High Classical work. Finally, on a few of his last lekythoi the artist used matt paint instead of golden dilute glaze for the outlines.

The Achilles Painter had several students, the most important being the Phiale Painter. They shared the same workshop with some lesser Red-figure artists such as the Dwarf Painter, the Persephone Painter, and the Clio Painter. Several important contemporary artists, such as the Kleophon Painter and the Painter of Munich 2335, also had contact with this workshop and were influenced by the Achilles Painter. On one loutrophoros (Philadelphia, U. PA, Mus., 30.4.1) the Achilles Painter drew the main frieze, while the Sabouroff Painter decorated the less important area. These contacts reflect the fact that the Achilles Painter was the most important and influential Classical vase painter and one of the best ancient draughtsmen.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘The Master of the Achilles Amphora in the Vatican’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.34 (1914), pp. 179–236
  • J. D. Beazley: Attic White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1938), pp. 13–16
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 986–1004, 1676–7, 1708
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960); Eng. trans. rev. B. B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 359–64
  • D. C. Kurtz: Athenian White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1975), pp. 41–8
  • I. Wehgartner: Ein Grabbild des Achilleusmalers (Berlin, 1985)
  • J. H. Oakley: The Achilles Painter (Mainz, 1997)
  • O. Tzachou-Alexandri: Leukes Lekythoi Tou Zographou Tou Achilleos sto Ethniko Archaeologiko Mouseio (Athens, 1998)

Painter of Acropolis 606

  • Jody Maxmin

(fl c. 575–c. 550 bc).

Greek vase painter. The artist is named after a large Attic Black-figure dinos, and six other vases or fragments are attributed to him. Like his contemporaries Nearchos and Lydos he painted large vases in the monumental tradition of the Nettos Painter. His name piece has large, boldly arranged figures, while the Corinthianizing animal friezes favoured by his miniaturist predecessors are relegated to subsidiary zones. Its vivid battle scene captures the moment of greatest suspense, with chariots clashing fiercely over the body of a fallen warrior. Muscular fighters with twisted moustaches and bright clothing and armour aim their spears at each other, while trim charioteers lean intently forward to control their rearing horses. The corpse sprawls in a grotesque pose, with one twisted arm at its side, the other wrapped round its neck, ending in a raised claw-like hand. The figure rivals some of Homer’s evocations of the horrors of war and anticipates some of Picasso’s.

The artist’s other works convey the same vehemence, grandeur, and disdain for dainty miniaturism. Thus, a pair of moustached warriors on rearing horses fills each of the panels of a majestic amphora (Berlin, Antikenmus., 4823), and each side of the neck of a cruder neck-amphora (Geneva, Mus. A. & Hist., MF 153) bears a thick-set male head with a twirled moustache. Three fragmentary figures of boxers (Athens, Acropolis Mus., 633) also express this artist’s staunch championing of Athenian monumentality.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Attic Black-figure: A Sketch’, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.14 (1928), pp. 13–14
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Attic Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 35–6
  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Black Figure Vase Painters (Oxford, 1956), p. 81
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), p. 30
  • D. Buitron-Oliver: New Perspectives in Early Greek Art (Washington, 1991)


  • Heide Mommsen

(fl c. 540–520 bc).

Greek vase painter. This Attic Black-figure artist’s name derives from the distinctive mannered appearance of his figures. Most of the c. 140 vases attributed to him are well preserved due to their having been buried in Etruscan tombs. Indeed, almost all were apparently produced for export, which perhaps partly explains his idiosyncratic style. Black-figure work tends naturally towards formalism, as is apparent in little-master cups and works by the Amasis Painter. However, the Affecter’s emphasis on the decorative effects created by his silhouette figures is unique, and contrasts with the general trend of his time towards stressing the narrative element in paintings. His compositions involve small-headed figures in ample, meticulously dotted drapery, whose long limbs create angular gestures and poses. The themes are highly repetitive (e.g. scenes of pederastic pursuit, a God Enthroned with Hermes, Soldiers Arming, Dionysos and his Followers, Theseus and the Minotaur, Men on Horseback), and he produced few interesting mythological scenes. The Affecter specialized in decorating amphorae but chose unconventional types, again apparently in a search for extravagance. Both as potter of his own vessels and as painter he employed old-fashioned forms (e.g. ovoid neck amphorae, low picture friezes, figures on the necks, double rays above the foot) but combined them imaginatively with inventions of his own. With his meticulous draughtsmanship he did achieve true masterpieces, of old-fashioned but incontestable elegance.


  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Black Figure Vase Painters (Oxford, 1956), pp. 238–48, 690–91
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (Oxford, 1971), pp. 110–12, 524
  • H. Mommsen: Der Affecter: Forschungen zur antiken Keramik II Reihe, Kerameus 1, 2 vols (Mainz, 1975)
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 60–64
  • C. E. Snow: ‘The Affecter Amphora: A Case Study in the History of Greek Vase Restoration’, Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, vol.44 (1986), pp. 2–7
  • H. A. Shapiro: ‘Poseidon and the Tuna’, L’Antiquité classique, vol.58 (1989), pp. 32–43
  • M. Pipili: ‘A Skyphos by the Affecter in Athens: Dispersed Fragments Reassembled’, Greek Offerings in Honour of John Boardman (Oxbow Monograph 89, 1997), pp. 87–94
  • B. Kreuzer: ‘Die attisch schwarzfigurige Keramik aus dem Heraion von Samos’, Samos, vol.22 (Bonn, 1998), nos. 33–35, 368, 369


  • Lucilla Burn

(fl c. 440–c. 420 bc).

Greek vase painter. Although c. 50 works have been attributed to him, his signature survives only on a fine Red-figure kylix (Madrid, Mus. Arqueol. N., 11265) decorated with the Exploits of Theseus. Six episodes are competently but routinely depicted on the outside of the kylix, but the culmination of the cycle, the Defeat of the Minotaur, is treated more lavishly in the tondo. With his patron goddess Athena by his side, the hero drags the dead Minotaur from its labyrinth, which is represented by a fine Ionic building bordered at its right-hand edge by a suitably labyrinthine vertical meander stripe. The scene is skilfully conceived and executed. The circular ground is elegantly criss-crossed by a balanced composition of vertical and diagonal lines, while the three figures are pointedly contrasted by their poses and appearance: the aloof and dignified goddess, the athletic, straining hero, and the grotesque, limp torso of the Minotaur.

This work has strong links with the Theseus cup (London, BM, E 84) of the Kodros Painter, and the two artists were surely contemporaries, though the Kodros Painter was perhaps slightly older. Another close contemporary was the Eretria Painter. It has also been suggested (Knigge) that the vases generally ascribed to the Meidias Painter were actually late works by Aison. Some aspects of the styles of the two painters are indeed extraordinarily similar: the often slightly down-turned heads, with their long, straight noses, and large eyes; the hair of the male figures, which tends to straggle round the neck; the musculature of the naked males, particularly the unusual long double line marking the median division of the abdomen. Yet there are also significant differences: whereas Aison generally depicted lively scenes, and strongly favoured chiastic movement, the Meidias Painter’s scenes are generally peaceful and static. Thus Knigge’s theory has not been widely accepted, and scholars prefer to regard the Meidias Painter as Aison’s pupil.

Aison was a competent and occasionally excellent artist. His painting was careful and precise, his patternwork neat. He decorated many shapes besides cups: squat lekythoi, a head kantharos, oinochoai, hydriai, loutrophoroi, a neck amphora, pelikai, and two pyxides. His subjects were also varied, ranging from many commonplace scenes of athletes and of youths leaving home to more unusual themes. Theseus is shown in three other scenes, twice in Amazonomachies, and once leaving home. A small pyxis (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 04.18) depicts a very rare scene, Odysseus’ Encounter with Nausikaa. Also of considerable interest are two allusions to the cult of Adonis, only introduced to Athens in about 440 bc and rarely depicted in contemporary vase paintings. On a squat lekythos (Paris, Louvre, MNB 2109) the seated Adonis is waited upon by Aphrodite and other women, while an acorn lekythos (Athens, Acropolis Mus. 6471) depicts the Gardens of Adonis.


  • C. Dugas: Aison et la peinture céramique à Athènes à l’époque de Péricles (Paris, 1930)
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963)
  • W. Real: Die Entwicklung der Vasenmalerei im ausgehenden 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Aschendorff, 1973), pp. 13–19
  • U. Knigge: ‘Aison, der Meidiasmaler? Zu einer rotfigurigen Oionchoe aus dem Kerameikos’, Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts: Athenische Abteilung, vol.90 (1975), pp. 123–43
  • D. Cramers: Aison en de Meidias-schilder (diss., Leuven, U. Catholique, 1980)
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases, the Classical Period (London, 1989), pp. 147, 167
  • R. Olmos Romera: Coloquio sobre Teseo y la Copa de Aison (Madrid, 1992) [papers in Spanish, French, German and Italian]
  • A. Lezzi-Hafter: Der Eretria-Maler (Mainz, 1998), pp. 190–234

Amasis Painter

  • Mary B. Moore

(fl c. 560–c. 515 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after eight Attic Black-figure vases decorated by one artist and signed by the potter Amasis. These signatures only appeared, however, from c. 550 bc, a decade after his earliest attributed work, the alabastron from the Athenian Agora (Athens, Agora Mus., P 12628). The Amasis Painter was a prolific artist, and over 130 examples of his work survive. He decorated numerous shapes, ranging from one-piece amphorae and neck amphorae, often with unusual details, to small, exquisite pieces, such as oinochoai, lekythoi, cups, and rare shapes such as the aryballos and the mastoid.

Amasis Painter (attrib.): Lekythos (oil flask), terracotta, H. 6 3/4 in. (17.15 cm), Attic Black-figure, ca. 550–530 B.C. (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1931, Accession ID:31.11.10)

The Amasis Painter’s earliest vases are sometimes rather conservatively decorated, good examples being four lekythoi (Paris, Louvre, F 71 and F 192; Philadelphia, U. PA, Mus., MS 4849; Tübingen, Eberhard-Karls-U., Antikensamml., 7434), an alabastron (Athens, Agora Mus., P 12628), and a cup (Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg-U., 88). However, the drawing is sure and strong and sometimes clearly influenced by Kleitias. Nonetheless, the Amasis Painter’s mature work (c. 550–c. 515 bc) is his most famous, for example the amphora in Würzburg (U. Würzburg, Wagner-Mus., L 265), the two neck amphorae in Boston, MA (Mus. F.A., 01.8026 and 01.8027), or the neck amphora in Paris, (Bib. N., 222), the splendid cup in the Norbert Schimmel collection (Kings Point, New York: see von Bothmer, pp. 217–19), the oinochoe in London (BM, B 471), and the two lekythoi in New York (Met., 31.11.10, see fig., and 56.11.1). On these the painter’s crisp, precise incision skilfully defines the individual figures, and he embellishes their garments, resulting in a rich tapestry-like effect that balances the carefully chosen ornaments articulating the vases’ various parts.

The Amasis Painter’s subject-matter and approach successfully reveal certain aspects of his personality. His sense of humour is reflected in the playful scene of Satyrs Making Wine on the Würzburg amphora, while representations of Dionysos and his companions (e.g. on Würzburg 265 and Paris, Bib. N., 222) imply a wider interest in the Dionysiac revels. Some other scenes are difficult to identify; thus the scene of Athena Confronting Poseidon on one side of Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale 222, perhaps represents the contest to become the patron deity of Athens, while the scenes of horse-training on a lekythos (St Petersburg, Hermitage, 2635) and an aryballos (New York, Met., 62.11.11) and of courtship on an olpe (New York, Met., 59.11.17) are less easy for the modern viewer to interpret in a specific way. However, the artist also depicted well-known myths, such as Herakles Choking the Lion on an oinochoe (Paris, Louvre, F 37), the Young Achilles Receiving his Armour (with the figures labelled to avoid ambiguity) and Herakles and Apollo Struggling for the Delphic Tripod (Boston, Mus. F.A., 01.8027). On the Schimmel cup the two sides are linked thematically: one shows the Stable of Poseidon, the other Poseidon with Heroes. The subject is unique and is based on the Iliad (XIII.10–31), where Poseidon’s grooms harness his team and Poseidon descends to the Trojan plain to encourage the Greek forces.

Amasis Painter (attrib.): Lekythos depicting a wedding procession, h. 175 mm, c. 550–c. 530 BC (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Walter C. Baker Gift, 1956, Accession ID: 56.11.1)

image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Munich amphora (Staatl. Antikensamml., 8763) graphically depicts a splendid cavalcade at full gallop, and the Amasis Painter also painted scenes of daily life, the most famous being on the two lekythoi in New York. One (Met., 56.11.1: see fig.) provides the fullest pictorial record of an Attic rural wedding. It shows the groom’s mother inside his house with the wedding party arriving by cart. The other (Met., 31.11.10) depicts women weighing, spinning, and weaving wool, then folding the finished cloth.

The Amasis Painter’s vases are distinctive, and he showed great versatility in invariably coordinating shape, ornament, and figural decoration. His figures are often small but never fussy; his compositions are often full but never cluttered.


  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 52–7
  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Black figure Vase Painters (Oxford, 1956), pp. 150–58, 687–8, 714
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 62–7
  • D. von Bothmer: The Amasis Painter and his World: Vase-painting in Sixth-century B.C. Athens (Malibu, CA, 1985)
  • Papers on the Amasis Painter and his World, J. Paul Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities (Malibu, 1987)
  • H. P. Isler: ‘Der Topfer Amasis und der Amasis-Maler’, Jahrbuch des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts [prev. pubd as Jb. Ksr. Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.109 (1994), pp. 93–114
  • A. C. Taylor: Importing the Other: The Amasis Painter and Archaic Narrative Tradition (Charlottesville, VA, 2002)

Analatos Painter

  • Nicolas Coldstream

(fl Athens, c. 705–c. 680 bc).

Greek vase painter. His name piece is the Early Proto-Attic hydria (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 313) found at Analatos, a modern suburb of Athens. He was a pioneer of the Orientalizing movement in Attic vase painting (see Greece, ancient, §V, 4). His style evolved from the Late Geometric II (c. 735–c. 700 bc) workshop of the Painter of Athens 894, especially from its Stathatou hand. On his earliest known vase, a hydria in Melbourne (N.G. Victoria, D23/1982), a funerary prothesis (laying out) scene on the neck has links with the Geometric past. Male and female dancers occupy the same position on the Analatos hydria, showing the painter’s style in the making. For the first time on an Athenian vase, Orientalizing curvilinear plant ornament fills the main body zone, flanked on one side by rampant lions. The dancers, although still in Geometric silhouette, have beaky facial features and reserved dotted eyes; massed dots cover the women’s skirts, and the painter’s own favourite trefoil plant ornament is often placed in the field.

An amphora in Paris (Louvre, CA 2985, c. 690 bc) bears a mixed dance on the neck, with a characteristically Analatan face, square and craggy, drawn in outline; typical are the heavily circled eye, fleshy nose, small mouth, and pointed beard swinging in a sharp curve from the cheek, as are the sphinxes above, with their scaly wings. Incision is used experimentally for minor details in the chariot frieze below but abandoned in the chariots on a later krater (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 6077), remarkable for the painter’s individual lions with spotted jowls. In his latest major work, on two high-footed cauldrons made for an aristocratic funeral (Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg U., 153, 156), he experimented with the Black-and-white style, which became standard in the Middle Proto-Attic phase of vase painting (c. 670–c. 630 bc).


  • J. M. Cook: ‘Protoattic Pottery’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.35 (1934–5), pp. 172–6
  • R. Hampe: Ein frühattischer Grabfund (Mainz, 1960), pp. 30–35, 77–8
  • E. T. H. Brann: Late Geometric and Protoattic Pottery, Mid 8th to Late 7th Century BC (1962), vol.8 of The Athenian Agora (Princeton, 1953–), pp. 10, 19–20
  • J. M. Cook: ‘A Painter and his Age’, Mélanges A. Varagnac (Paris, 1971), pp. 167–76

Andokides Painter

  • Beth Cohen

(fl c. 525–c. 515/510 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was named after the potter Andokides, by whom he was employed, and he was the first great practitioner, and probably the inventor, of Attic Red-figure. His works survive on fewer than 20 vases (all either amphorae or cups), almost half of which are bilingual. Their Black-figure pictures are probably attributable to another artist, the Lysippides Painter, who began as a pupil of the Black-figure master Exekias. The Andokides Painter’s earliest works, by contrast, are on Red-figure amphorae (New York, Met., 63.11.6; Berlin, Antikenmus. 2159; Paris, Louvre, G 1) and closer in style (e.g. the treatment of energetic, full-bodied figures and stacked drapery folds) and subject-matter (e.g. Herakles and Apollo Struggling for the Tripod) to sculptural decoration from the Siphnian Treasury (see Delphi, §2), than to Black-figure paintings.

In the Andokides Painter’s early works the Red-figure silhouettes are not yet emphasized by contour stripes of black glaze, while relief lines only appear sporadically. Incision is restricted to areas (e.g. hair contours) that were difficult to reserve. Globules of glazed clay give a relief effect to details such as hair and grapes. The painter experimented on a belly amphora with white slip for female flesh (Paris, Louvre, F 203) and represented the human body in complicated positions, though at the expense of anatomical precision (e.g. his wrestlers and satyrs on two belly amphorae: Berlin, Antikenmus., 2154, and Orvieto, Mus. Etrus. Faina, 64, respectively). He used hooked lines for collarbones and knee joints and often drew bony protuberances at wrist, elbow, and heel. His early works include loose compositions depicting daily activities such as athletics, musical, contests and women (possibly Amazons) bathing.

The Andokides Painter’s unusual partnership with the Lysippides Painter began halfway through his career. On one bilingual amphora Achilles and Ajax appear on both sides, but only the Red-figure heroes have a monumentality and a liveliness that transcend the Exekian tradition. On another bilingual amphora (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 99.538) the two artists painted the same composition, Herakles Driving a Bull to Sacrifice, in different techniques. In one case the division of labour was particularly clever: shields of fallen Black-figure warriors on the exterior of a bilingual eye cup (Palermo, Mus. Reg., V650) are in Red-figure. On the Andokides Painter’s contemporary Red-figure amphora with Herakles Fighting the Amazons (Orvieto, Mus. Etrus. Faina, 64) the profusion of incision, added colour and patterns display a new influence of Black-figure.

The Andokides Painter’s latest Red-figure pictures are all on bilingual amphorae. In these the figure contours are more natural and the compositions more effectively structured. The artist’s favourite hero, Herakles, recurs in vivid and original compositions, for example, crouching to coax Kerberos on a belly amphora (Paris, Louvre, F 204) or wrestling with the Nemean lion, which has vaulted on to his shoulders, on another (London, BM, B 193). Herakles is invariably attended by a figure of Athena resembling a sculpted kore from the Acropolis. The Andokides Painter depicted a cheerful, lively world with infectious enthusiasm, and his richly dressed figures evoke the aristocratic sophistication of Peisistratid Athens.


  • R. Norton: ‘Andokides’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.11 (1896), pp. 1–41
  • E. Langlotz: Zur Zeitbestimmung der strengrotfigurigen Vasenmalerei und der gleichzeitigen Plastik (Leipzig, 1920), pp. 18–31
  • W. Technau: ‘Eine Amphora des Andokidesmalers in der Sammlung des Conte Faina zu Orvieto’, Corolla Ludwig Curtius (Stuttgart, 1937), pp. 132–41
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 2–5; vol.3, p. 1617
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960); Eng. trans. rev. B. B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 316–17
  • H. Marwitz: ‘Zur Einheit des Andokidesmalers’, Jahreshefte des österreichischen archäologischen Institutes in Wien [cont. as Wien. Jhft.; reverts to Jhft. Österreich. Archäol. Inst. Wien], vol.46 (1961–3), pp. 73–104
  • E. R. Knauer: Die Berliner Andokides-Vase (Stuttgart, 1965)
  • D. von Bothmer: ‘Andokides the Potter and the Andokides Painter’, Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol.24 (1965–6), pp. 201–12
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 320–21
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (New York, 1974), p. 105
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red-figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 15–17
  • B. Cohen: Attic Bilingual Vases and Their Painters (New York, 1978), pp. 1–8, 105–93
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References toABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982; rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 149–50
  • M. Robertson: The art of vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 10–15, 17, 41, 51
  • M. B. Moore: Attic Red-figured and White-ground Pottery, The Athenian Agora, vol.30 (Princeton, 1997), pp. 81–3
  • M. B. Moore: ‘Andokides and a Curious Attic Black-figured Amphora’, Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol.36 (2001), pp. 15–41

Antimenes Painter

  • Johannes Burow

(fl c. 530–c. 510 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after a kalos inscription praising Antimenes on a hydria (Leiden, Rijksmus. Oudhd., PC 63). He was one of the most prolific Black-figure artists in Athens in the 6th century bc, and c. 140 of his pieces are extant. He decorated mainly standard neck amphorae and hydriai, though also a few bell amphorae and pseudo-Panathenaic amphorae, a dinos, a psykter, and a calyx krater. Most were found in Etruria, especially at Vulci.

The Antimenes Painter began his career in the workshop of two pupils of Exekias, the potter Andokides and the Lysippides Painter, though he does not seem to have been formally the latter’s pupil. Stylistic similarities with Psiax encouraged Beazley to call him Psiax’ ‘brother’. The Antimenes Painter’s style is in fact plainer than that of either the Lysippides Painter or Psiax; his figures are large and powerful, and he avoided overlaps whenever possible. His painting is not always accurate, though even his small pictures are rendered in great detail; for example those on the shoulders and predellas of his hydriai, or on the neck of an amphora (Paris, Louvre, F 201). Similarities in the subject-matter and composition, in the predellas and in ornamentation, suggest that all three artists collaborated within a single workshop complex.

The Antimenes Painter’s work comprised three phases. The first is characterized by frequent repetition of the same themes, with the influence of the Lysippides Painter evident in both subject-matter and composition. During the second, the Antimenes Painter led a workshop whose production included more unusual shapes such as dinoi, calyx kraters, and psykters. The third phase represents the zenith of the painter’s career. Though it has yielded fewer vases, these are painted in meticulous detail. A few groups briefly carried on the Antimenes Painter’s style but gradually merged into the workshop of the Kleophrades Painter.

The Antimenes Painter depicted many subjects, and he also introduced new details into earlier themes or gave them an idyllic slant, as in the two scenes on neck amphorae of Herakles Greeting Pholos (London, BM, B 226) and Herakles with Kerberos (Paris, Louvre, F 228). Herakles was the painter’s favourite hero; fountain-house scenes also occur frequently. His innovative pictures include one on his name-piece of men and youths at a bathhouse surrounded by trees, and two on amphorae showing the olive harvest (London, BM, B 226 and Berlin, Antikensamml., F 1855), which also respect the relative proportions of men and trees. The Beheading of Medusa on a neck amphora (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 1555) and the battle scene from the Little Iliad on a hydria (Basle, Antikenmus.) are impressively dramatic and attest to the painter’s particular success in rendering these narrative scenes. The Antimenes Painter was probably also the first to use the White-ground technique on the necks of amphorae and hydriai, and to decorate these two shapes with frontal Dionysos masks derived from eye cups. Thus, though he showed a certain conservatism in adhering to Black-figure when his contemporaries were adopting Red-figure, his innovations suggest a deliberate effort to keep Black-figure competitive.


  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Black-figure (Oxford, 1956), pp. 266–76
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (Oxford, 1971), pp. 161–72
  • M. B. Moore: ‘A New Hydria by the Antimenes Painter’, Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol.18 (1983), pp. 29–38
  • J. Burow: ‘Der Antimenesmaler’, Forschungen zur antiken Keramiek: Kerameus, vol.7 (1989) [whole issue; with illus. of works discussed above]

Arkesilaos Painter

  • Maria Pipili

(fl c. 565–c. 555 bc).

Greek vase painter. A Lakonian Black-figure artist, he is named after a cup from Vulci (Paris, Bib. N., Cab. Médailles, 189) showing King Arkesilaos of Cyrene (probably Arkesilaos II, regc. 565–560 bc) watching the weighing and packing of a white substance (?silphion), a precious plant used as a medicine which was the monopoly of the kings of Cyrene. The subject of this cup was used by early scholars to support the mistaken view that Lakonian vases were in fact Cyrenean. The career of the Arkesilaos Painter was short and few works by him—most of them cups—have survived. Two of his cups are decorated with mythological scenes: one (Rome, Villa Giulia) shows Herakles Pursuing Two Amazons; the other (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 16592) depicts Atlas and the Torture of Prometheus. He also favoured symposium scenes. The Arkesilaos Painter was not a first-rate draughtsman; his style is rather naive and his figures stiff. He does, however, display a liking for narrative and his scenes are lively and expressive. His choice and treatment of subjects make him perhaps the most original of the 6th-century bc Lakonian vase painters.


  • E. A. Lane: ‘Lakonian Vase-painting’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.34 (1933–4), pp. 140–41
  • P. Pelagatti: ‘Kylix laconica con Eracle e le Amazzoni’, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, vol.82 (1958), pp. 482–94
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960); Eng. trans. and rev. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 309–10
  • C. M. Stibbe: Lakonische Vasenmaler des sechsten Jahrhunderts v. Chr., 2 vols (Amsterdam and London, 1972), pp. 107–19

Athena Painter

  • Bettina Jeske

(fl c. 490–c. 480 bc).

Greek vase painter. He belonged to the last generation of Attic Black-figure vase painters, who now painted only small vessels such as lekythoi and oinochoai. He decorated both shapes, but specialized in lekythoi (about 150 are attributed to him) and employed both red and white grounds: occasionally he used the outline technique for the attributes of his conventional black silhouette figures (e.g. Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1809; see Kurtz, pl. 60/2). He drew simply, but well: his figures are large and powerful, while careful incision gives them an appearance of animation. His name derives from his numerous portrayals of Athena. In addition to typical Late Archaic subjects (stories of gods and heroes, Dionysiac revels, battles, animals), he also painted some unusual scenes, such as Satyrs Performing a War Dance (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 18567) or Hyakinthos Escaping across the Sea on a Swan (Berlin, Pergamonmus., 30852).

The Athena Painter’s workshop mainly produced numerous White-ground oinochoai, though the form and ornamentation of a few Red-figure lekythoi show that they were also made there. They are ascribed to the Red-figure Bowdoin Painter, but stylistic similarities suggest that they were decorated by the same painter as their Black-figure counterparts, so that the Bowdoin Painter and the Athena Painter were in fact probably the same person: the difference in subject-matter between the Black- and Red-figure lekythoi (the latter mainly depicting women) perhaps simply reflects a difference of function in the vases.


  • C. H. E. Haspels: Attic Black-figured Lekychoi (Paris, 1936)
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 522–4, 704–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 260–62
  • D. C. Kurtz: Athenian White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1975)
  • M. Steinhart: ‘Apollon auf dem Schwan: Eine neue Lekythos des Athenamalers’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.2 (1993), pp. 201–12

Painter of Athens 894

  • Nicolas Coldstream

(fl c. 720–c. 700 bc).

Greek vase painter. An inventive and influential artist active in Athens, he worked at the close of the Late Geometric style (c. 760–c. 700 bc); his silhouette figure drawing follows the tradition of the Dipylon Master but in a more cursive and relaxed manner. His name piece, the slim neck-handled amphora in Athens, represents the leading figured shape of the day, of which over 30 examples come from his workshop; the attached terracotta serpents indicate their funerary purpose. The neck panel on these vessels often portrays a condensed prothesis (laying out) scene, in which female mourners are distinguished by long hair and latticed skirts. Main body zones often bear chariot processions showing more sense of movement than do those of the Dipylon Master, and files of foot-soldiers carrying round shields with blazons. Subsidiary zones may contain animal friezes with grazing deer or hounds chasing a hare or, less frequently, bulls, centaurs, or prowling lions of Near Eastern inspiration. Geometric ornament here plays only a subordinate part.

Other shapes from this painter’s prolific workshop include hydriae with scenes of dancing women, one-piece rounded (i.e. unarticulated) oinochoai with animals on the shoulder, and shallow skyphoi with figured decoration inside, influenced by metal bowls from the Levant (see Phoenician, §6).

Several of the later vessels from the Athens 894 workshop are attributable to the mannered and fastidious hand of the amphora in the Stathatou collection (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., St 222); this artist appears to have been the teacher of the Analatos Painter, the leading personality of the Early Proto-Attic phase (c. 700–c. 670 bc).


  • J. M. Cook: ‘Athenian Workshops around 700’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.42 (1947), pp. 146–9
  • J. M. Davison: ‘Attic Geometric Workshops’, Yale Classical Studies, vol.16 (1961), pp. 41–5
  • J. N. Coldstream: Greek Geometric Pottery (London, 1968), pp. 58–64

Baltimore Painter

  • Margot Schmidt

(fl c. 330–c. 310 bc).

Baltimore Painter: Volute Krater, terracotta, 1140×600×465 mm, c. 330 BC‒310 BC (Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, Acquired by Henry Walters, 1925, Accession Number: 48.86)

image credit: The Walters Art Museum

Vase painter, active in Apulia. He may have worked near Canosa, where many of his vases have been found, though there is some connection with the Underworld Painter, who probably worked at Tarentum. He is named after a monumental volute krater in Baltimore, MD (Walters A.G., 48.86), possibly depicting Hermes and Persephone in the Underworld. There are many other mythological subjects in his unusually large oeuvre, though they lack the originality of his near contemporary, the Darius Painter. A characteristic example of the Baltimore Painter’s slightly coarse but vivid style is provided by another volute krater (Ruvo di Puglia, Mus. Jatta, 424), with an agitated representation of the Death of the Children of Niobe. In addition to large numbers of minor vases mostly decorated with a single painted female head, his workshop produced many volute kraters with scenes at grave shrines. The figures in the shrines, representing the deceased and members of their family, are sometimes painted with various colours (red, orange–yellow, and white). In his multi-figured compositions the painter often depicted objects of various types scattered all over the ground, the most characteristic being a hydria with one visible M-shaped handle. The Baltimore Painter was not a meticulous draughtsman: his lines tend to be thick, but his rapid brush movements add a touch of character. The early works of his successor, the White Saccos Painter, are extremely close to those of the Baltimore Painter.


  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia, vol.2 (Oxford, 1982), pp. 856–81
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia: Supplement 1 (London, 1983), pp. 146–62
  • A. D. Trendall: Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily. A Handbook (London, 1989), pp. 97–9
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia: Supplement 2 (London, 1992), pp. 268–88
  • K. Schauenburg: ‘Baltimoremaler oder Maler der weissen Hauben? Zu zwei Krateren in Privatbesitz’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.4 (1994), pp. 543–69

Beldam Painter

  • Bettina Jeske

(fl second quarter of the 5th century bc).

Greek vase painter. He was the last painter of large Attic Black-figure lekythoi and the first artist to adorn this shape with burial scenes (e.g. Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1982), foreshadowing the tomb-lekythoi of Classical times. He was also the first to paint false-bottomed lekythoi, of which his name vase (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1129) is the oldest preserved example (c. 475 bc). He favoured unusual subjects and dramatic effects, as in his depictions of Satyrs Tormenting a Woman (the ‘Belle Dame’ of his name vase) and Pirates Drowning Bound Men (both Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1129 and 487). He also painted smaller lekythoi of inferior quality (chimney-mouthed lekythoi) which are typical mass-produced vases with little variation in form and decoration. The figures on these are small and sketchy; paired lines were often incised into the clay beneath the picture while it was still wet.

The workshop of the Beldam Painter specialized in pattern lekythoi, with ivy, meshwork and chessboard designs, and palmette lekythoi. These were exported in large quantities throughout the Mediterranean area and even copied (e.g. in South Italy). The use of purely ornamental designs was adopted by other workshops for kantharoi, skyphoi, and cups. The Beldam Painter probably also produced at least one Red-figure lekythos (Copenhagen, Nmus., 1941).


  • C. H. E. Haspels: Attic Black-figured Lekythoi (Paris, 1936), pp. 170–91, 266–71
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 750–52
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 586–7, 709
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 292–4
  • D. C. Kurtz: Athenian White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1975), pp. 18–20, 84–7, 153–5
  • J. H. Oakley: ‘Zwei alte Vasen—zwei neue Danaebilder’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.1 (1990), pp. 65–70

Berlin Painter

  • D. C. Kurtz

(fl c. 500–c. 460s bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after a large Type A amphora (Berlin, Antikenmus., 2160) and was among the finest Attic Red-figure vase painters. His paintings often suit the shapes of their vases so beautifully that he probably also made the vases themselves. During his long career he attracted many influential followers.

The exceptional number of works (almost 300) assigned to the Berlin Painter is partly explained by the artist’s productivity, but also by his consistent and easily recognizable style. Most of the vases of known provenance come from Italy, especially Vulci, but some fine specimens were found in Athens, including a White-ground plate depicting the goddess Athena (Athens, Acropolis Mus., 427). This is the only White-ground piece firmly assigned to the Berlin Painter but, since his pupils often used the technique, he probably produced other similar works. He may also have held the commission for Black-figure Panathenaic amphorae; a series (e.g. Athens, Acropolis Mus., 981 and Berlin, Antikenmus., 1832) painted in the 460s bc resembles his work but also that of his pupil the Achilles Painter. At the same time the Berlin Painter used silhouette for a funerary cavalcade beneath the principal, Red-figure scene on his loutrophoros (U. Erlangen, bib., 526). In Attica this type of vase was used exclusively in the practice of cleansing the body before marriage and at death. Hermonax, his pupil, painted many, and the Achilles Painter at least one.

Volute krater by the Berlin Painter (attrib.): Achilles Fighting Hector, Attic Red-figure, h. 635 mm, c. 500–480 BC (London, British Museum)

photo © The British Museum

The Berlin Painter decorated many shapes. Amphorae, kraters of various types (see fig.), pelikai, hydriai, and stamnoi are the most common types of his larger pots; among the smaller are oinochoai, Nolan neck amphorae, and lekythoi. A pair of phialai (Malibu, CA, Getty Mus., 76.AE.16.1–2) were identified as late as 1976. He may also have decorated cups; one very early and very fine cup (Athens, Agora Mus., P24 113) was assigned to him but may be by a contemporary. It is the only piece possibly associated with the painter that bears a signature, that of the potter Gorgos.

Identifying the earliest work of the Berlin Painter can be difficult, since his style was still developing and the influence of his likely teachers, Phintias and Euthymides, was still strong. Initially, very early vases were assigned to a Nereus Painter and a Vienna Painter. The same problem arises less markedly with the Berlin Painter’s late work, which often resembles that of his pupils. At first Beazley (1911) considered these late vases to be ‘schoolpieces’, but he subsequently apportioned many between the master and his pupils. A quaint and somewhat old-fashioned aspect of his later style also resembles the Mannerism of the young Pan Painter. Three of the Berlin Painter’s pupils were particularly important: the Providence Painter, whose style was the most Archaic; Hermonax, who was either younger or more Classical; and the Achilles Painter. With their preference for Nolan amphorae and lekythoi, the Providence and Achilles Painters, and the latter’s pupil the Phiale Painter, perpetuated the Berlin Painter’s influence for nearly a century.

The Berlin Painter’s career began when Black-figure was still flourishing, although mainly on smaller vases, including neck amphorae of various types (Panathenaic, large versions with twisted handles, Nolans, and doubleens) and lekythoi, and he apparently collaborated with artists specializing exclusively in Black-figure. He also either decorated non-figural black-painted vases with Red-figure patterns or strongly influenced others who did, such as the Group of the Floral Nolans. He frequently accentuated the glossy black backgrounds of his vases by restricting his figures and patterns. His lekythoi sometimes have black bodies and figured shoulders, like those of the Achilles and Phiale Painters, or a single figure overlapping a black shoulder on the Nolan principle. His larger vases rarely have multi-figure friezes but often focus on a single figure or closely-knit group. This spotlight effect is particularly characteristic of the artist, who applied it effectively, even to very large vases, using his figures, poses, gestures, drapery, or accoutrements to create interesting and varied silhouettes.

The Berlin Painter apparently also introduced a staple motif of later Red-figure vase painting, the mantle figure or motionless draped male, reproduced with monotonous regularity and great facility on the reverse of the vases (see fig.). Such figures persisted throughout the 5th century bc, generally grouped in pairs or threes, and they were inherited by South Italian Red-figure artists. The Berlin Painter’s following was large because some of his stylistic devices were easily copied. Even the master himself apparently succumbed to something like mass production, judging by the profusion and poor quality of his later work. At the highest point of his career he generally gave more attention to the patterns created by his figures than to the story they told. This too made his style easier to imitate than that of his great contemporary the Kleophrades Painter, who apparently had no following. Despite its grace, the Berlin Painter’s work, in contrast to that of the Kleophrades Painter, lacks feeling.

The Berlin Painter often depicted deities; their aloofness and grandeur suited his style. He also painted athletes and satyrs, but even the latter generally look refined and well-mannered. In his later years he introduced motifs that became popular with his successors: the warrior leaving home and the two-figure pursuit. A few early vases have kalos inscriptions praising youths, and Beazley’s original name for the artist, the Socrates Master, derived from one. The artist’s best works belong to his early phase, when large shapes predominated: amphorae, neck amphorae, kraters, stamnoi, and hydriai, the earliest being of Black-figure type. The draughtsmanship of details of figures and patterns ranges from careful to very fine, even on modest vases. In his middle phase the range of shapes apparently became more restricted and the style of decoration looser. By his late phase Nolans and lekythoi predominated, with some stamnoi and hydriai. The patterns were stereotyped and sometimes careless, and the figures became more angular with less lively contours and sometimes scant detail. The painter’s finest work is illustrated by his namepiece, a Type A amphora depicting Hermes and the Satyr Oreimachos. His teachers, Phintias and Euthymides, had painted the same shape, but quite differently. Here the figures are grouped almost as one and highlighted against the background, which is markedly unrestricted by the patterned frame. The figures float freely on the glossy black surface, supported only by a short decorative band and surmounted by another running around the neck, both with unusual patterns complementing the atypical grouping, in which Hermes extends both arms, holding a jug in one hand and a large kantharos and his staff in the other. He looks ahead as he strides forward, while a fawn noses toward the kantharos, brushing between his legs and those of the satyr, Oreimachos. The names of both are neatly incised beside their heads. As the satyr turns he looks back at his arched tail, which amplifies the contours of Hermes’ cloak, and extends his right arm in the same direction while clasping a lyre under his left. The whole design is perfectly suited and subordinated to the vase’s shape.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘The Master of the Berlin Amphora’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.31 (1911), pp. 276–95
  • J. D. Beazley: Der Berliner Maler (Berlin, 1930; Eng. trans., Melbourne, 1964)
  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Red-figure Vase Painters (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1633–5, 1700–01
  • D. M. Robertson: ‘The Gorgos Cup’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.62 (1958), pp. 55–66
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971)
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 91–5, 111
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)
  • D. C. Kurtz: The Berlin Painter (Oxford, 1983)
  • D. A. Eyler: Amphorae, Athletics, and the Berlin Painter: An Analysis of a Fragmentary Type C Amphora in Emory University Museum (n.p., 1989)
  • A. Pasquier: ‘Un nouveau chef-d’oeuvre du peintre de Berlin entre au Louvre’, Revue du Louvre et des musées de France, vol.43 (June 1995), pp. 13–15
  • Greek vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vi (Malibu, 2000)

Boreads Painter

  • Maria Pipili

(fl c. 575–c. 565 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was influenced by Corinthian work and was among the earliest Lakonian Black-figure vase painters (see Greece, ancient, §V, 5, (iii)), and apparently established the canonical decorative scheme for Lakonian cups, which have an exergue under the main scene in the interior and patterned bands on the exterior with horizontal palmettes by the handles. His surviving output is limited to cups, and these, though numerous, are mostly fragmentary. Most come from Samos, Naukratis, and Olympia, none from Sparta. He is named after a vase (Rome, Villa Giulia) depicting The Boreads Pursuing the Harpies. Unlike his contemporary the Naukratis Painter, he was a narrative artist whose simply painted, lively scenes would have been better suited to long friezes than they were to their constricted cup tondi. In addition to several paintings of the Boreads he depicted Bellerophon and the Chimaera, the Introduction of Herakles to Olympos, and, more than once, Herakles and the Hydra and Achilles’ Ambush of Troilos. The decoration surrounding the tondi almost always consists of pomegranates. His work was imitated by later Lakonian artists, including his pupil the Rider Painter and the Arkesilaos Painter, and influenced cups from Samos and Chios.


  • E. A. Lane: ‘Lakonian Vase-painting’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.34 (1933–4), pp. 130–34
  • M. Moretti: ‘Coppa laconica da Caere’, Archeologia classica, vol.4 (1952), pp. 10–13
  • C. M. Stibbe: Lakonische Vasenmaler des sechsten Jahrhunderts v. Chr., 2 vols (Amsterdam and London, 1972), pp. 87–106
  • M. S. Venit: ‘Laconian Black Figure in Egypt’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.89 (July 1985), pp. 391–8

Brygos Painter

  • Diana Buitron-Oliver

(fl c. 490–c. 470 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Athens, he was one of the finest Red-figure cup painters of the Late Archaic period. He is named from the potter signature of Brygos, and the potter and painter may in fact have been the same person. His teacher was Onesimos, whose influence is apparent in the Brygos Painter’s depiction of individualized male figures with hairy chests or receding hairlines, in his portrayal of twisting poses with foreshortened limbs, as well as in the general qualities of liveliness and energy that characterize his work. The Brygos Painter, however, went beyond his teacher in infusing his figures with passion, and in his accomplished rendition of the different stages of human life, from children (e.g. cup, Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 16582; skyphos, Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 10.176) to the old and regal (e.g. cup, Paris, Louvre, G 152; skyphos, Vienna, Ksthist. Mus., 3710). His personal hallmarks, such as faces with narrow eyes and expressive mouths and his predilection for dilute glaze washes, were adopted by a large circle of followers.

Brygos Painter (attrib.): Cup depicting Symposium Scene (detail), diam. 320 mm, Attic Red-figure, c. 490–480 BC (London, British Museum)

photo © The British Museum

The Brygos Painter’s vases seldom bear inscriptions, and these are often misspelt and include nonsense inscriptions, also found on vases by members of his circle. Besides the potter signatures on five cups, some individual figures are labelled, or words may be shown issuing from their mouths. Kalos names are rare. The Brygos Painter’s preferred border for tondo scenes was the stopt meander, often interrupted by cross-squares or chequer-squares. The exterior of the vessel may also have such a border, or simply two reserved lines under the figural scene. The space beneath the handles may be decorated with palmettes or animals such as dogs. The Brygos Painter was an acute observer, and most of his cups depict scenes from daily life: revels, symposia (see fig.), athletes, warriors with horses, men and youths courting, and erotic scenes. All of these often include lively, inquisitive dogs. Like those of Onesimos, these pictures sometimes have an unsavoury element, but the well-known tondo scene of a youth vomiting, presumably after the party depicted on the cup’s exterior, nevertheless has a gentle quality (U. Würzburg, Wagner-Mus., 479). The Brygos Painter’s mythological scenes, which are among his finest mature works, are often unusual and inventive, both in terms of the moment depicted and in the composition (e.g. a kantharos depicting Zeus Pursuing Ganymede; Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.). A strong interest in suggesting spatial effects is apparent, from the overlapping cattle in the story of the baby Hermes (cup, Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 16582), or the chariot of Selene seen head-on (cup, Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg, 2293), to the frequent inclusion of architectural elements, or the indication of roundness and volume with dilute glaze shading.

Like Onesimos and others of his contemporaries, the Brygos Painter also worked in the White-ground technique, producing an oinochoe, an alabastron, and several cups including one containing the beautiful Maenad Tondo (Munich, Mus. Ant. Kleinkst, 2645). He was one of the first to distinguish female flesh by the use of a second white. Shapes other than cups decorated by the Brygos Painter include an early kantharos (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 95.36), the masterly skyphoi of his mature period depicting revellers (Paris, Louvre, G 156) or the Ransom of Hektor (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus., 3710) and the unusual late kalathoid vase showing Sappho and Alkaios (Munich, Mus. Ant. Kleinkst, 2416). Other late works include two dozen lekythoi (e.g. Oxford, Ashmolean, 318) and several animal-head rhyta (e.g. in the form of a donkey’s head; Paris, Louvre, C 11741).

The Brygos Painter’s masterpieces are the cups of his mature period. By contrast, his late work is weak, with elongated figures lacking structure or a sense of energy and individuality. It is hard to tell where the Brygos Painter’s oeuvre ends and that of his school begins. His most important followers were the Dokimasia Painter, to whom several vases listed by Beazley as the Brygos Painter’s have been attributed, the Briseis Painter, and the Foundry Painter.


  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Red-figured Vases in American Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1918), pp. 89–93
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 368–85; vol.2, pp. 1649, 1701
  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Brygan Symposia’, Studies Presented to David Moore Robinson (St Louis, MO, 1953), pp. 74–83
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960); Eng. trans. and rev. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 336–9
  • A. Cambitoglou: The Brygos Painter (Sydney, 1968)
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 365–8, 512
  • M. Wegner: Brygosmaler (Berlin, 1973)
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 135–7
  • E. Simon, M. Hirmer, and A. Hirmer: Die griechischen Vasen (Munich, 1976), pp. 111–16
  • J. R. Mertens: Attic White-ground (New York, 1977), pp. 168–9
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 224–9
  • D. Williams: ‘An Oinochoe in the British Museum and the Brygos Painter’s Work on White Ground’, Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, vol.24 (1982), pp. 17–40
  • I. Wehgartner: Attische weissgründige Keramik (Mainz, 1983), pp. 56, 58, 85
  • H. R. Immerwahr: Attic Script (Oxford, 1990), pp. 88–9
  • M. Robertson: The Art of Vase Painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 93–100
  • ‘Twelve Vase Fragments’, J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol.22 (1994), p. 62
  • N. Strawczynski: ‘Artémis et Thésée sur le skyphos du peintre de Brygos Louvre G 195’, Revue archéologique, vol.1 (2003), pp. 3–24

C Painter

  • H. A. G. Brijder

(fl c. 575–c. 555 bc).

Greek vase painter and potter. Active in Athens, the C Painter (C for Corinthianizing) is the earliest known painter of the Siana cup (named after a village in Rhodes where the cups were first found), as well as of the lip-cup (with high-stemmed foot and offset lip) and the Merrythought cup (with nearly hemispherical bowl and knobbed wishbone handles). His work also includes skyphoi, lekanides, tripod-kothons, and votive plates (for vase shapes see Greece, ancient, §V, 1, (ii), (a)). Siana cups, however, formed his main production: about 155 cups and fragments have been attributed to him.

In his early period (c. 575–c. 570 bc) he painted mainly winged female figures in the tondos of his cups; borders were usually a band of tongues and one dotted band. On the outside he depicted combats, cavalcades, and symposia, and the heroes Achilles and Troilos. The figures are thick-set, with meticulous incision.

In his middle period (c. 570–c. 565 bc) the C Painter’s tondos usually depicted running warriors and sometimes mythological figures; the borders were bands of tongues with one or two dotted bands. Subjects on the outside of his cups included the usual early-period motifs and such new ones as heroic fights and gatherings, and mythological scenes of pursuit. The style is ornate, with ornamental fillings in the field, elaborate incision, and an abundance of added colours. There is a greater freedom of composition compared with other periods. Based on their style of drawing and painting, the C Painter’s Merrythought cup in Würzburg (U. Würzburg; Wagner-Mus., L 451) and two double-decker Siana cups (London, BM, B380, and Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 531) must date to this period, as well as skyphoi, lekanis lids, tripod-kothons, and votive plates. The finest examples of his oeuvre are found among these works, particularly his tripod-kothons and lekanis lids.

The cups attributed to his late period (c. 565–c. 560 bc) are larger than earlier ones. Apart from the familiar designs, the tondos often feature a winged youth who may be interpreted as the male counterpart of Nike, the messenger of victory gained in games. Borders are mainly a band of tongues either alone or combined with a single dotted band. Sporting scenes are depicted in great numbers on the outside of the cups: horse races replace the earlier military cavalcades, and gatherings of riders or of men and youths (return of the victorious athletes and jockeys) are common. This interest in sport may have been occasioned by Peisistratos’ reorganization of the Panathenaic games in c. 566 bc. In other scenes, mythological escapes replace scenes of pursuit, and symposion scenes virtually disappear; heroic fights are replaced by scenes of ordinary combat. Added colours are used much less than in the middle period, and the incisions are more casual.

In his final period (c. 560–c. 555 bc), the C Painter produced very large cups showing mainly animals in the tondos and a single band of tongues for the border. The painter reverted to familiar subjects—symposia, komos scenes, combats. Some of the cups from this phase have an undecorated exterior, and little use is made of added colours; black is often thinly applied, giving a brownish effect, and the incisions are faint.

The C Painter was the master of a Siana-cup workshop that existed in Athens for some 30 years. At least ten artisans from the workshop can be distinguished. The eldest, the Cassandra Painter, worked from c. 570 to c. 565 bc. The Taras Painter (referred to by Beazley as the Shadow of the C Painter) and the Malibu Painter joined the workshop in the mid-560s; the latter worked there for some 15 years and the former until the very end of the workshop in c. 540 bc. The Vintage Painter, the Adelph Painter, the Double-palmette Painter, and the Omobono Painter worked from c. 560 bc to c. 555 bc; the Painter of the Burgon Sianas and the Epignote Painter joined the workshop in the 550s.


  • H. A. G. Brijder: Siana Cups I and Komast Cups, Allard Pierson Series, vol.4 (Amsterdam, 1983)
  • A. Kauffmann Samaras: ‘Le “Peintre C”, peintre novateur de la céramique attique, dans la collection du Louvre’ (rev. Louvre, 1987), pp. 340–55
  • H. A. G. Brijder: ‘C Painter’, Siana Cups II: The Heidelberg Painter, Allard Pierson Series, vol.8 (Amsterdam, 1991), p. 513
  • H. A. G. Brijder: ‘Simply Decorated, Black Siana Cups by the Taras Painter and Cassel Cups’, Bulletin antieke beschaving, vol.48 (1993), pp. 129–45
  • Ch. Ellinghaus: Aristokratische Leitbilder, Demokratische Leitbilder, Kampfdarstellungen auf athenischen Vasen in archaischer und frühklassischer Zeit (Münster, 1997), pp. 11–28
  • H. A. G. Brijder and G. Streitman: ‘C. Painter’, Siana Cups III: The Red-black Painter, Griffin-bird Painter, and Siana Cups Resembling Lip-cups, Allard Pierson Series (Amsterdam, 2000)

Chicago Painter

  • John H. Oakley

(fl c. 460–c. 450 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after an Attic stamnos depicting preparations for a Dionysiac ritual (Chicago, IL, A. Inst., 89.22). He was a pupil of the Villa Giulia Painter, and painted all his vases in the Red-figure technique, preferring large pots, especially stamnoi, kraters, and hydriai. He also decorated smaller shapes, including pelikai, oinochoai, a lekythos, a pyxis, and a cup. Nearly 50 vases by him are known.

The Chicago Painter clearly based his style on that of his teacher, who generally painted stock figures in unimaginative compositions. However, his own figures are less stiff and interact more successfully. Many appear too tall and thin, while the tops of their heads are exaggeratedly rounded and heavy. They are often active and gesture expressively with their hands. The artist’s favourite subject was maenads making ready for a Dionysiac festival, perhaps the Lenaia, though it is confined to stamnoi, such as his name-piece. He also favoured departure and pursuit scenes, while the most noteworthy of his few mythological pictures, on a pelike (Lecce, Mus. Prov. Sigismondo Castromediano, 570), shows Polyneikes Bribing Eriphyle with the Necklace of Harmonia.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 628–32; vol.2, pp. 1662–3
  • G. M. A. Richter: Attic Red-figured Vases (New Haven, 1946, 2/1958), pp. 105–6
  • B. Philippaki: The Attic Stamnos (Oxford, 1967), pp. 110–19

Darius Painter

  • Margot Schmidt

(fl c. 340–c. 330 bc).

Apulian vase painter, possibly active in Tarentum. He was the leading artist in his field of his time, exercising a strong influence on late Apulian vase painting in general (see also Underworld Painter below). The Darius Painter is named after his monumental volute krater in Naples (h. 1.3 m; Mus. Archeol. N., 81947) depicting the Persian king Darius, who is identified by an inscription, and his entourage listening to a messenger. This elaborate, multi-figured scene may relate to an historical event at the beginning of the Ionian Revolt in 499 bc (i.e. more than 150 years before the painter’s own time), which was reported by Herodotus (Histories–cvii). The rare or unique subjects of many of his other works, which are sometimes identified by inscriptions accompanying the main characters, also evince his surprising erudition. Unusually, instead of always depicting heroes, he frequently chose myths involving well-known heroines, such as Andromeda, Antigone, Antiope, and Kreousa, and more obscure female figures such as Rhodope (calyx krater; Basle, Antikenmus., S34) and the daughters of the Delian king Anios, who actually occur twice (calyx krater, Miami, priv. col.; loutrophoros, Naples, priv. col.)

Like most late Apulian vases, those by the Darius Painter with known provenances were discovered in tombs. Their subjects may therefore contain some funerary symbolism, but, unlike many of his colleagues, the Darius Painter rarely adopted the more explicitly funerary scenes centred on grave monuments.

His monumental volute kraters, such as the Darius Krater and its companion piece from the same chamber tomb at Canosa representing the Funeral of Patroklos (h. 1.42 m; Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., 81393), provide excellent examples of the artist’s characteristic multi-figured compositions. These are arranged in several horizontal registers, with subtle correspondences and interactions between the different elements, apparently designed to stress the causes and consequences of human or divine actions. More aesthetically appealing are some of his medium-sized compositions on calyx kraters and bell kraters. Here the figures are normally disposed in two registers, the upper one being often reserved for the gods, who appear to be contemplating the mythological scenes enacted below. The reverses often depict scenes of Dionysos and his companions, perhaps an allusion to the bliss of the afterlife, given their funerary context. Most remarkable is his volute Krater in Toledo, Ohio (1994.19) depicting Dionysos in the Underworld. Minor vases, notably pelikai, from the Darius Painter’s workshop often depict bridal preparations.

The Darius Painter was a gifted draughtsman. The details of his figures are painted in fine and fluid lines, while stronger and bolder strokes emphasize their different poses. Though, like his forerunners, he used stock figures and conventional poses, he conveyed the dramatic spirit of his sources, drawn from mythology and, possibly more indirectly, from Greek drama. Moreover, despite the heterogeneity of his models, he succeeded in developing an individualistic style. Among his finest achievements was the use of the three-quarter view to express a wide range of emotions, from quiet grief to fury and frenzy. His apparent interest in physiognomy is demonstrated in his masterly rendering of the agitated countenance of Oedipus, absorbed in the crucial dialogue with the blind Teiresias on a small oinochoe (Basle, Antikenmus., BS 473). Rather than aiming at psychological realism, he developed pictorial formulae (e.g. the shape of brows, lips etc) to express and define emotion and pathos. In evolving what might be termed his grammar of physiognomy, he may have explored to some extent the possibilities inherent in contemporary theoretical treatises (for discussion of these see Greece, ancient, §VI, 3). The vases from his mature period, which may date as late as c. 320 bc, evince fuller use of added colours, such as purple-red and yellowish white.


  • M. Schmidt: Der Dareiosmaler und sein Umkreis (Münster, 1960)
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia, vol.2 (Oxford, 1982), pp. 482–508
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia: Supplement 1 (London, 1983), pp. 73–80
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: ‘Medea at Eleusis on a volute krater by the Darius Painter’, Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, vol.43/1 (1984), pp. 4–17
  • A. D. Trendall: Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily. A Handbook (London, 1989), pp. 89–90
  • G. Zuntz: ‘Aion in Karlsruhe?’, Antike Kunst, vol.33/2 (1990), pp. 93–106
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia: Supplement 2 (London, 1992), pp. 145–54
  • J. M. Moret: ‘Les Departs des Enfers dans l’imagerie apulienne’, Revue archéologique, vol.2 (1993), pp. 293–351

Dinos Painter

  • Ian McPhee

(fl c. 430–c. 400 BCE).

Greek vase painter. The conventional name derives from a dinos today in Berlin (Staatl. Museen Preuss. Kultbes, 2402). He was one of the more prolific and influential vase-painters during the years of the Peloponnesian War, probably beginning his career about 430 BCE and continuing well into the last decade of the 5th century. The British scholar J. D. Beazley attributed some forty-nine complete or fragmentary vases to his hand, and many more have been added in recent years. The painter specialized in decorating large vases intended for the symposion (elite male banquet), especially bell-kraters and calyx-kraters, but also volute-kraters, dinoi, pelikai, and an occasional stamnos, amphora, neck-amphora, loutrophoros, and hydria. There is no evidence at present that he decorated drinking-vessels of any sort. He may have painted black-figure Panathenaic amphorae, but no example has been certainly attributed.

The Dinos Painter’s early work shows the influence of the Group of Polygnotos, especially the Kleophon Painter, of whom he must have been a pupil and whose style he continued, as Beazley remarked, “in a less solemn and a sweeter form.” In his better, usually earlier, works, such as a stamnos in Naples (Mus. Archeol. N., 2419) and a superb neck-amphora formerly on the Basel antiquities market, his figures are well-proportioned, tall, and statuesque, displaying the ethos of the Classical Age. They have volume and expressiveness, and in larger vases may be placed on different levels, with the undulating terrain indicated by delicate incised lines. There is considerable variation of pose, often with bodies partly drawn in three-quarter view, and with heads occasionally almost frontal. The pleats of garments are indicated with a characteristic combination of long, fluid lines and short, spidery strokes. In his later works, however, such as the calyx-kraters in Vienna (Ksthist. Mus., 1024) and in Athens (Benaki Mus., 43847), figures tend to be flatter and more two-dimensional, the line-work more mannered and lifeless. Vases of this phase are also more decorative, with considerable use of added white, often covered with golden diluted slip or a light red miltos, both for figures and objects. Throughout the painter’s career, he frequently gives names to figures on his vases, a practice that became increasingly rare on Athenian vases after c. 400.

Given that so many of the painter’s vases are connected with the symposion, it is hardly surprising to find that Dionysos and his thiasos of satyrs and maenads (sometimes named) are so prominent in the iconography. In these scenes much is conventional, but at times an individual figure may be shown in a novel attitude or reveal a very human quality (e.g. the maenad with child on a volute-krater in Bologna, Mus. Civ., 283). But the painter’s repertory includes a variety of mythological subjects, some of which reveal an Athenian bias (e.g. deeds of Theseus, Eos, and Kephalos, departure of Pandion), and others are quite unusual, and may be based in some cases on monumental paintings: Atalanta and Hippomenes preparing to wrestle (Bologna, Mus. Civ., 300); Meleager offering a bunch of grapes to a child (Parthenopaios?) in the arms of a young woman (Athens, Kanellopoulos Mus., 2500); Aktaion, Theseus, Tydeus, and Kastor as hunters (New York, Met., 66.79); or the disputed scene (probably Theseus leaving for Crete) on a fragmentary bell-krater in Gela (Museo Archeologico). And in the realm of human activities, beside more normal scenes of departure or return, and symposia, we also find a liking for the unusual: transference of Panathenaic oil (Peiraeus, Archaeol. Mus.), love-making (London, BM, 1772,0320.154 [F65]), or female pubic depilation (Cambridge, MA, Harvard U. A. Museums, 9.1988).

There is evidence that the Dinos Painter worked for a time in the same workshop as the Kadmos Painter and the Painter of the Athens Dinos. Furthermore, both in style and iconography, he exerted a considerable influence on the more florid painters active in the period c. 415–c. 390, such as the Pronomos Painter, the Talos Painter, and the Painter of Louvre G 433, as well as on the principal painters of pots working in the years c. 400–c. 375, such as the Meleager Painter.


  • Beazley, J. D. Red-figure. 1942, 2/1963, vol. 2, pp. 1151‒1158, 1685.
  • Halm-Tisserant, M. “Le Peintre du Dinos.” Histoire de l’art 4 (1988): 3‒16.
  • Robertson, M. The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens. Cambridge, 1992, pp. 242‒245.
  • Paul, A. J. “A New Vase by the Dinos Painter: Eros and an Erotic Image of Women in Greek Vase Painting.” Harvard University Art Museums Bulletin (1994‒1995): 61‒67.
  • Matheson, S. Polygnotos and Vase Painting in Classical Athens. Madison, 1995, pp. 147‒161.
  • Tzachou-Alexandri, O.Κωδωνόσχημος κρατήρ του Ζωγράφου του Δίνου.” Αρχαιολογικόν Δελτίον, 54 (1999), A, pp. 103–114
  • Shapiro, H. A. “Theseus and Ariadne on Crete: The Dinos Painter’s Krater from Gela.’ In Ta Attika: Veder Greco a Gela. Ceramiche attiche figurate dall’antica colonia, edited by R. Panvini and F. Giudice, 229‒238. Rome, 2004.
  • Sabetai, V. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Greece 9, Benaki Museum 1. Athens, 2006, pp. 25–28.
  • Oakley, J. H. “The Departure of the Argonauts on the Dinos Painter’s Bell Krater in Gela.” Hesperia 76 (2007): 347‒357.
  • Kathariou, K. “A New Red-figure Dinos and a New Painter in the Manner of the Dinos Painter.” Numismatica e antichitὰ classiche 38 (2009): 11‒25.
  • Tiverios, M. A. “Minotaur, Apsyrtos or Androgeos, the “ΚΑΤΑ ΠΡΥΜΝΑΝ ΗΡΩΣ”? The Dinos Painter’s bell krater in Gela once again.’ In Zurück zum Gegenstand. Festschrift für Andreas E. Furtwängler, edited by R. Einicke, S. Lehmann and H. Löhr, 275‒282. Langenweissbach, 2009.
  • Sabetai, V. “Eros Reigns Supreme: Dionysos’ Wedding on a New Krater by the Dinos Painter.’ In A Different God? Dionysos and Ancient Polytheism, edited by R. Schlesier, 137‒160. Berlin, 2011.
  • Guy, J. R. “An Attic Red-figure Neck-amphora Attributed to the Dinos Painter.” Cahn’s Quarterly 2 (2014): 12.
  • Valavanis, P. “Collection, Preservation, Distribution and Use of Panathenaic Prize Amphoras and Panathenaic Oil.’ In ΕΓΡΑΦΣΕΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΠΟΙΕΣΕΝ: Essays on Greek Pottery and Iconography in Honour of Professor Michalis Tiverios, edited by P. Valavanis and E. Manakidou, 373–387. Thessaloniki, 2014.

Dipylon Master

  • Nicolas Coldstream

(fl c. 760–c. 735 bc).

Greek vase painter. His work belongs to the first stage of the Late Geometric (lg) style, and he is named after the Dipylon cemetery in Athens, for which he and his workshop made many huge funerary vessels. These vases were used to mark aristocratic graves and to receive libations for the dead (belly-handled amphorae for female burials, pedestalled kraters for male). All such monumental vessels are decorated with a prothesis scene in which the bier of the deceased is surrounded by mourners. On kraters, the prothesis includes a following of armed warriors and chariot teams; battle scenes, either on land or at sea, may occur elsewhere on the vase. Subsidiary zones contain rectilinear geometric ornament, with the key meander as an important motif. Amphorae may also be decorated with friezes of goats and deer, adapted from Levantine ivories and metal bowls. Most of the Dipylon vases were excavated in the late 19th century and are now in either Athens (N. Archaeol. Mus.) or Paris (Louvre). Some 50 vases have been attributed to the Dipylon Master’s workshop, and fine examples of the Dipylon Master’s own work include an amphora in Athens (N. Archaeol. Mus., 804) and a krater in Paris (Louvre, A 517). His career marks a sudden flourishing of large-scale figural drawing after the Dark Age, when representational motifs on pottery had been extremely rare.

The Dipylon Master is the first recognizable artistic personality in Greek vase painting with a consistent figural style. His humans, in dark silhouette, are hardly less ‘geometric’ than the abstract ornament surrounding them, and his figures of mourners tearing their hair are especially characteristic: the thorax and raised arms form a tall isosceles triangle, with angles at waist and elbows; the head and lower body are in profile, and curves are minimal. Overlapping figures are avoided, and the viewpoint is varied so that every limb is visible. Thus, however elaborate the scene, the function of each figure, whether mourner, warrior, archer, charioteer, or rower, is clearly defined. Foot-soldiers carry the ‘Dipylon shield’, its sides cut back to reveal the warrior’s arms. This may represent a contemporary shield type, or a ‘heroic’ reminiscence of the Minoan–Mycenaean figure-of-eight shield at a time when epic poetry was already in circulation. The Dipylon Master’s rendering of animals and inanimate objects is equally clear, simple, and conceptual. In prothesis scenes, the chequered shroud is lifted to reveal the deceased on the bier. Chariots are shown with their two wheels side by side, although the box is in profile. In manned warships, both sides of the ship are shown so that all rowers may be visible. Animals, always in silhouette, are distinguished by pose as well as by anatomical details: chariot horses stand facing forwards, deer graze, goats recline looking backwards. Within the figural fields, light filling ornaments occupy the background, softening the contrast between bold silhouette figures and hatched geometric ornament elsewhere on the vessel.

Several different painters within the workshop can be distinguished from variations in the figure drawing, especially in the ‘Dipylon shields’. Sometimes the work of two artists occurs on the same krater. Vases from the workshop’s later stage, exemplified by kraters in Paris (A 552) and Sydney (Nicholson Mus., 46.41), depict only the prothesis with retinue, with no battle scenes. In addition to the monumental vessels with funerary scenes, the Dipylon Master’s workshop also produced large round-mouthed pitchers, neck-handled amphorae, oinochoai, tankards, and high-rimmed bowls, decorated with animal friezes or with linear ornament alone.


  • F. Villard: Corp. Vasorum Ant., France fascicle 18, Louvre fascicle 11, (Paris, 1954)
  • J. M. Davison: Attic Geometric Workshops, Yale Class. Stud. vol.16 (New Haven, 1961), pp. 21–36, 133–40
  • J. N. Coldstream: Greek Geometric Pottery (London, 1968), pp. 29–41
  • J. N. Coldstream: ‘The Dipylon Krater Sydney 46.41; context, style and iconography’, Meditteranean Archaeology vols9–10 (1996/97), pp. 1–11


  • Reinhard Stupperich

(fl c. 500–c. 460 bc).

Greek vase painter and potter. Active in Athens, he worked in the Red-figure technique, and his exceptionally long career extended from the end of the Archaic period until late in the Early Classical period. Of his extensive output (at least 280 vases are attributed to him by Beazley; see fig.), he signed some 40, most as the painter, though some as potter. However, this does not mean that he established his own workshop only later in his career, since his signatures as a potter occur on early vases, and painting was clearly his principal activity. He evidently also had a considerable school from early in his career. Douris must have been well known among other vase painters, for his name regularly occurs in their work. The picture on the inside of a cup by Onesimos (from Cerveteri, anc. Caere; Brunswick, ME, Bowdoin Coll. Mus. A., 1930.1) shows a woman with a skyphos clearly signed by Douris. His name appears quite frequently in the work of the Cartellino Painter, and a cup by the Triptolemos Painter (from Cerveteri; Berlin, Staatl. Museen Preuss. Kultbes., 2286), who must have been his pupil, is signed with his name, possibly to increase its value.

Douris (attrib.): Kylix depicting athletes, h. 112 mm, c. 500 BC (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Norbert Schimmel, 1986, Accession ID: 1986.322.1)

image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Beazley divided Douris’ work into four phases, corresponding to alterations in both the ornamentation and the kalos names used in inscriptions (see Greece, ancient, §V, 1, (vi), (c)). In the first phase Douris experimented with matching the painted decoration to the form of the vessel, still largely employing the Late Archaic repertory. He created some superb pieces notable for the fineness of their draughtsmanship, including a signed aryballos depicting a youth and a young woman (from Athens; Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., T.E. 556). Ornamentation is rich and there are impressive compositions, particularly in the tondo pictures inside cups, which may even have additional friezes round the inner rim. The second phase is marked by greater simplicity, with the proportions of the figures becoming more compact, especially in sporting scenes. Douris adopted the hooked representation of the collarbone that other painters had abandoned long before. In the third phase his characteristic style appears not only in the composition but also in such details as thick hems on garments and clusters of brushstrokes in the narrow parallel folds, and in such ornaments as the alternating meander squares and crossed panels framing his pictures. There is greater richness of ornament, in contrast to the generally routine quality of these pieces. Banquet scenes are more frequent, with back views demonstrating Douris’ adoption of the most recent developments in perspective, if in a rather schematized way. The fourth phase is largely a continuation of the third, not least in the increasingly rich decoration, though it is differentiated by such details as the doubling of the meander squares in the inside frames. Besides cups, which constitute 90% of his output, other shapes were introduced, including the skyphos, rhyton, oinochoe, kantharos, and psykter. His lekythoi include some fine white-ground examples, painted in great detail. None of these late pieces is signed.

Of the subjects treated, everyday scenes account for over half; the rest are mostly fighting scenes, some of them mythological. The mythological scenes are particularly interesting and include Eos Carrying the Dead Memnon, the Fight for Achilles’ Weapons, the Gigantomachy, the Amazonomachy, the Exploits of Theseus, and several versions of the Fight between Peleus and Thetis. A unique variant of the story of Jason is depicted inside a cup (from Cerveteri; Rome, Vatican), showing Jason hanging out of the dragon’s mouth in the presence of Athena, and a psykter (London, BM, E 768; see fig.) with Satyrs at Play is particularly outstanding.

Douris: Psykter depicting Satyrs at Play, h. 287 mm, Attic Red-figure, c. 500–490 bc (London, British Museum); photo © The British Museum For more information:


  • E. Pottier: Douris et les peintres de vases grecs (Paris, 1907)
  • J. C. Hoppin: A Handbook of Attic Red-figured Vases, vol.1 (Cambridge, MA, 1919), pp. 208–91
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 425–53, vol.2, pp. 1651–3, 1701
  • M. Wegner: Duris: Ein künstlermonographischer Versuch (Münster, 1968)
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 374–6, 521
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 137–40
  • D. M. Buitron: Douris (diss., New York U., 1976)
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 235–42
  • ‘Twelve Vase Fragments Acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, Calif.’, J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol.22 (1994), p. 62
  • D. Buitron-Oliver: Douris: A Master-painter of Athenian Red-figure Vases, Kerameus, vol.1 (Mainz, 1995)
  • O. E. Tzachou-Alexandri: ‘Eine Kylix des Duris aus der Umgebung des Demosion Sema’, Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts: Athenische Abteilung, vol.117 (2002), pp. 69–90


  • Diana Buitron-Oliver

(fl c. 520–c. ?480 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Athens, he was one of the major artists of the first generation of Attic Red-figure vase painters, and he signed his name on over 40 vases, often misspelling the accompanying verb. Over 112 vases by him survive: most are cups, but larger shapes include calyx kraters, a volute krater, skyphoi, kantharoi, and an oinochoe. Some of his finest work is on plates.

Epiktetos’ earliest vase, also one of the earliest known examples of the shape, is a calyx krater (Rome, Villa Giulia), signed on the foot by Andokides as potter. Epiktetos may well have begun his career in the workshop of Andokides, but the painter with whom in general he had most affinity, sharing a similar delicacy and precision of line, was Psiax, who also collaborated with the potter Andokides. Epiktetos’ earliest cups were bilingual eye-cups, painted first for Nikosthenes’ workshop and soon after for Hischylos’: like Oltos, he appears to have changed workshops frequently. Epiktetos’ Black-figure work is confined to the tondi of these early eye-cups, which carried figures in action, such as revellers, warriors, or animals. Between the eyes of the Red-figure exteriors, figures in action also occur, for example the squatting, frontal satyr on a cup in Würzburg University (Wagner-Mus., 468). This early example of a favoured motif shows that, almost from the start of his career, Epiktetos had an interest in rendering complex poses, an interest taken up by the Pioneer group. This early work also includes a kantharos signed by Nikosthenes as potter (Odessa, A. Mus.). Epiktetos’ early style is characterized by a slight awkwardness; the figures are stiff, with outsized heads. The borders of the hair are incised, whereas in later examples the contour is reserved.

The interiors of the cups painted for Hischylos show Epiktetos’ Black-figure style at its finest. The figures are elegant and the compositions skilful. The cups’ Red-figure exteriors are initially rougher, as Epiktetos continued his exploration of figures in motion, but a degree of accomplishment equal to his Black-figure work soon appears, reaching a great facility in drawing combined with graceful energy. To this phase also belong his Red-figure palmette eye-cups painted for Pamphaios, and the series of signed plates, which particularly demonstrate his superb balance of sinuous line and control of the circular field. Three of these (London, BM, E 135–7) show respectively an archer (see fig.), a warrior with a horse, and two revellers. No kalos inscriptions appear in Epiktetos’ early works, but Hipparchos is praised on a series of Red-figure cups of his mature period. These are decorated on both interior and exterior with mythological subjects, such as Theseus and the Minotaur, Herakles and Busiris, and Achilles and Ajax, and with scenes from daily life, such as revels or symposia (e.g. a cup-skyphos depicting Serving the Wine; Oxford, Ashmolean). Together these scenes show Epiktetos’ predilection for swift, graceful action and succinct characterization, along with his developing ability to show the body in unusual poses. His cups of this period have palmettes at the handles, the most elaborate of which is on a cup (London, BM, E 38) signed by the potter Python, who also worked extensively with the painter Douris.

Epiktetos: Plate depicting Archer, diam. 194 mm, Attic Red-figure, c. 520–500 bc (London, British Museum); photo © The British Museum For more information:

Epiktetos continued to paint bilingual eye-cups into his mature phase, but his greater freedom of drawing style conflicted with the old-fashioned decorative format, and he soon abandoned it. He experimented with coral red on at least two cups and collaborated on two others with the Euergides Painter, who painted the Red-figure exteriors. In his late period Epiktetos collaborated with Pistoxenos, who signed as potter on a skyphos (London, BM, E 139). Epiktetos’ later work shows the influence of the Pioneer group in the depiction of complex or unusual poses. However, though his long career spanned the transition from Archaic to Classical art, he never abandoned his essentially Archaic drawing style.


  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Red-figured Vases in American Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1918), pp. 14–18
  • W. Kraiker: ‘Epiktetos: Eine Studie zur archaischen attischen Malerei’, Jahrbuch des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts [prev. pubd as Jb. Ksr. Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.44 (1929), pp. 141–97
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 70–79; vol.2, pp. 1623–4, 1705
  • P. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960); Eng. trans. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 319–20
  • A. MacSweeney: ‘A Red Figured Eye-cup by Epiktetos and Pamphaios’, Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, vol.25/3 (1968), pp. 104–13
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 328–9
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 57–9
  • M. Robertson: ‘Beazley and After’, Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, vol.27 (1976), pp. 29–46
  • E. Simon, M. Hirmer, and A. Hirmer: Die griechischen Vasen (Munich, 1976), pp. 96–7
  • H. Giroux: Corp. Vasorum Ant., Fr. fasc. 28, Louvre fasc. 19 (Paris, 1977), pp. 14, 21, 24
  • B. Cohen: Attic Bilingual Vases and their Painters (New York, 1978), pp. 400–38
  • K. Schefold: Götter- und Heldensagen der Griechen in der spätarchaischen Kunst (Munich, 1978), pp. 65, 134–5, 151
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 166–9
  • H. R. Immerwahr: Attic Script (Oxford, 1990), pp. 61–3
  • M. Robertson: The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 16–18
  • D. Paléonthodoros: Epiktétos (Louvain, 2004)

Eretria Painter

  • Adrienne Lezzi-Hafter

(fl c. 440–c. 415 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was among the most prolific and original Classical Athenian Red-figure artists and was named after an epinetron (for definition, see Greece, ancient, §X, 10) from Eretria (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1629). Almost 150 vases painted by him survive, of which about 90 are cups, the rest including various shapes of pots and two epinetra. Of the cups, 80 come from one workshop, which also employed three lesser artists, the Calliope Painter, the Disney Painter, and the Painter of the Naples Hydriskai. When depicting athletes and youths the Eretria Painter usually adhered to standard workshop designs. However, he devised his own compositions for dancing satyrs and Amazons (cups, Ferrara, Mus. N. Archeol., T128, inv. 3035 and 28426). He produced unusual depictions of the deeds of Theseus and used inscriptions to transform a common departure scene into an episode from the Trojan War, one of his favourite subjects (cups, Ferrara, Mus. N. Archeol., T 128, inv. 3035 and 28426). He probably also portrayed the Thessalians who arrived to support Athens early in the Peloponnesian War (cup, Malibu, CA, Getty Mus., 85.AE.474).

Although the Eretria Painter apparently painted mainly cups, his best work is on pots, which he decorated for at least six different workshops. Early in his career he painted a pair of large oinochoai showing King Pandion Leaving his Family (Palermo, Mus. Reg., N. I.484) and Herakles Attacking the Sacred Hind (Agrigento, Mus. Reg. Archeol., V 1568). On these vases his style is close to that of the Kodros Painter, as also on a cup with Athletes and Trainers (Paris, Louvre, G 457). On one early and one late rare Type D kantharos (Paris, Bib. N., R 851; Taranto, Mus. N., inv. 177005), depicting respectively Achilles and Patroklos Leaving Phthia and Menelaos and Odysseus Waiting at Troy after Requesting the Return of Helen, he shows a preference for finely drawn, miniature figures and for Trojan themes.

Another one of the Eretria Painter’s favourite subjects was women. Thus a pyxis (London, BM, E 774) depicts Women Bringing Gifts to a Bride on the Morning after her Wedding. By adding the names of Nereids he transformed the scene into a mythic sphere, as he did on his name-piece, which has three scenes connected with marriage (Athens, N. Mus., 1629). In one, Harmonia prepares for her wedding under the supervision of Aphrodite and her attendants. In another Peleus and Thetis wrestle, symbolizing the physical union of man and woman. In the third Alkestis receives her female friends and relatives on the day after her wedding to Admetos. Few other vase painters combined three related scenes so artfully on a single vase; the Eretria Painter did so again on his tallboy lekythos (New York, Met., 31.11.13). This depicts women in corresponding scenes, but connected with death, and combines two Red-figure friezes with a White-ground frieze, the technique for funerary vases.

The Eretria Painter also produced some unique Dionysiac scenes. Thus two choes (Athens, Vlasto priv. col., see Lezzi-Hafter, ii, pls 136–7) depict scenes from the Anthesteria, the springtime festival of Dionysos at Athens, while the Dionysiac revel labelled with island names (cup, Warsaw, N. Mus., 142458) may represent a lost comedy.

On choes and lekythoi, the Eretria Painter worked with Aison and the Meidias Painter, whereas on a ram’s head rhyton (Ferrara, Mus. N. Archeol., T 5) he took up the tradition of the Sotades Painter. However, because he worked in different workshops, the Eretria Painter left no true successor, despite his long career.


  • A. Furtwängler: Vasen, vol.1 of Die Sammlung Sabouroff (Berlin, 1883), pp. 4–8, text to pl. LV
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1247–55, 1688, 1704–5, 1708
  • B. Schweitzer: Mythische Hochzeiten, vol.6 of Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, philosophisch-historische Klasse (Heidelberg, 1961)
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 469–70, 522
  • I. Jucker: ‘Kephalos im Göttergarten’, Beiheft Antike Kunst, vol.9 (1973), pp. 63–8
  • A. Lezzi-Hafter: Der Eretria-Maler, 2 vols (Mainz, 1988)
  • A. Lezzi-Hafter: ‘Licht und Schatten. Zu einem Gesamtkunstwerkdes Eretria-Malers’, in H. Froning and others, eds.: Kotinos, Festschrift für Erika Simon (Mainz, 1992), pp. 228–31
  • A. Lezzi-Hafter: ‘Offerings Made to Measure: Two Special Commissions by the Eretria Painter for Apollonia Pontica’, in J. H. Oakley and others, eds.: Athenian Potters and Painters. The Conference Proceedings (Oxford, 1997) pp. 353–69
  • O. Tzáchou-Alexandrí: ‘Apeikoníseis ton Anthesteríon kai o chous tis Odou Peiraiós tou Zográphou tis Erétrias’, in Oakley: Athenian Potters and Painters (as above), pp. 473–90

    Data courtesy of the Beazley Archive, Oxford University.


(fl c. 520–c. 500 bc).

Greek vase painter and potter. He signed eight Attic vases as painter, while two of his calyx kraters (New York, Met., 1972.11.10 and Paris, Louvre, G 33) are signed by the potter Euxitheos and two of his cups (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2620 and Paris, Louvre, Cp 11981) by the potter Kachrylion. All date from before 500 bc. Thereafter, the artist apparently concentrated exclusively on making pots: he signed at least 12 cups decorated by other painters, the latest (c. 470 bc; Berlin, Antikenmus., 2282) being by the Pistoxenos Painter, while an inscription on a pillar monument that Euphronios dedicated on the Athenian Acropolis (see A. Raubitschek: Dedications from the Athenian Akropolis, Cambridge, MA, 1949, pp. 255–8, no. 225) calls him ‘the Potter’.

Euphronios was undoubtedly the most talented of the Red-figure Pioneer group (see also Euthymides and Phintias). Not only was he the best draughtsman, but he was also the first painter to use dilute glaze lines and relief contours to produce rich decorative compositions, and his successful technical experiments profoundly influenced the work of his immediate successors, particularly the Berlin Painter and the Kleophrades Painter.

Euphronios was the first painter to favour the calyx krater, whose shape was probably invented by Exekias, and they rank among his best works. He also painted a volute krater, stamnoi, neck amphorae, neck pelikai (a rare variant), a hydria, psykters, several cups, and a fragmentary plate. His style was monumental and best suited to large surfaces. However, he also successfully decorated smaller formats such as cups (e.g. Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2620). His compositions often contain many figures with considerable overlapping and foreshortening. Good examples occur on three calyx kraters (Dallas, TX, priv. col., see Vermeule, pp. 34–9; New York, Met., 1972.11.10; Paris, Louvre, G 103) and on his volute krater (Arezzo, Mus. Archeol. Mecenate, 1465). All attest to his particular interest in anatomy.

Euphronios’ paintings generally depict heroic scenes or scenes of Athenian daily life. His depictions of Herakles are especially memorable. Louvre G 103 shows Herakles Wrestling with Antaeus. His right arm is under the giant’s left armpit, his left around his neck, hands gripped together tightly. Euphronios has brilliantly contrasted the hero’s neat hair and beard and tense profile with the giant’s dishevelled hair and beard, bared teeth, and helpless frontal pose, probably deliberately juxtaposing Herakles’ straining right foot with Antaeus’ limp right hand. At the same time, the drama is heightened by three women rushing about, gesturing excitedly. The hero’s declawed lion skin, bow, and quiver complete the composition.

Euphronios: Calyx Krater with Herakles Wrestling with Antaeus, h. 483 mm, Attic Red-figure, c. 510 bc (Paris, Musée du Louvre); photo credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

Herakles is also depicted on Arezzo 1465, this time as Herakles Fighting the Amazons. Though three confront him, they seem to have little chance as he strides forward, bow outstretched, brandishing his club. A fourth Amazon has sunk down wounded while another is about to be slain by Telamon. On the other side of the vase four more Amazons run up, presumably as reinforcements. The splendid calyx krater in Dallas shows Herakles Killing Kyknos (the son of Ares who robbed Apollo of sacrificial victims on their way to Delphi). Kyknos falls backwards, his face frontal and contorted in pain as blood pours from his wounds, while Athena moves in to keep Ares at bay with her aegis over her outstretched arm.

Finally, Herakles Stealing the Cattle of Geryon appears on the exterior of a cup (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2620), the cattle on one side, the fight on the other. One of Geryon’s three monstrous bodies is wounded, as is his herdsman Eurytion, while his guard dog, Orthos, lies dead.

The New York calyx krater has a rare but memorable scene from the Trojan War: The Rescue of the Body of Sarpedon, the Lycian king killed by Patroklos. Sarpedon’s youthful body extends almost across the whole width of the vase as Sleep and Death lift it to take it away for burial. Blood pours from his wounds, while his one visible heavily lashed eye is closed and his teeth are clenched. Hermes stands behind the group ready to guide them, while they are flanked by Laodamos and Hippolytos. This krater was stolen from the Etruscan tombs at Cerveteri (Caere) in 1971, and bought unwittingly by the Metropolitan Museum in New York; in 2006 the Museum announced its intention to return the krater to Italy.

Euphronios’ scenes of daily life are also among his best. One of the most important is the Symposion (drinking party) on the fragmentary calyx krater in Munich (Staatl. Antikensamml., 8935) where one of the participants is labelled Smikros, probably Euphronios’ fellow Pioneer of that name. The scene extends over both sides of the vase, showing the symposiasts singing and drinking to the accompaniment of a female flute player. A smaller symposion scene appears on each side of the neck of a neck amphora (Paris, Louvre, G 30), showing one youth playing kottabos (flicking the dregs of his wine), another accompanying himself on the lyre. Finally, a variant symposion scene, involving nude women, occurs on a psykter (St Petersburg, Hermitage, 644). Meanwhile, the reverse of the Antaeus krater depicts a Musical Contest with a youth stepping up to the podium, flutes in hand, in front of three youths. Athletes occur on each side of the small calyx krater (Berlin, Antikenmus., 2180) in poses that have an almost photographic quality of ‘frozen moments’, testifying to Euphronios’ powers of observation. Several are boldly foreshortened, like many of Euphronios’ other figures. Other scenes of daily life appear on the pelike in the University of Chicago and the Villa Giulia, Rome (Beazley, 1963): on one side a boy ties a man’s sandal; on the other a youth plays with a marten, while the reverse of the New York calyx krater shows young men arming for battle and the inside of the Munich cup shows a youthful horseman in a Thracian cloak.

Euphronios was the first Red-figure painter to exploit the new technique, and though his extant output is rather small, his influence on the next generation of artists was pervasive. His amply proportioned figures, large-scale compositions, and technical brilliance opened up an entirely new approach to the decoration of Greek vases.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 13–17
  • E. Vermeule: ‘Fragments of a Symposium by Euphronios’, Antike Kunst, vol.8 (1965), pp. 34–9
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 321–2
  • D. von Bothmer: ‘Der Euphronioskrater in New York’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.91 (1976), pp. 485–512
  • J. Frel: ‘Euphronios and his Fellows’, Ancient Greek Art and Iconography, ed. W. G. Moon (Madison, WI, 1983), pp. 147–58
  • Euphronios, peintre à Athènes au VIe siècle avant J.-C (exh. cat.; Paris, Louvre; Arezzo, Mus. Archeol. Mecenate; Berlin, Sonderausstellungshalle der Staatliche Museen in Dahlem; 1990–91)
  • Euphronios und seine Zeit: Kolloquium in Berlin 19./20. April 1991 anlässlich der Ausstellung Euphronios, der Maler
  • S. Klinger: ‘Illusionist Conceit in Some Reclining Symposiast Scenes Painted by Euphronios and his Colleagues’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.3 (1997), pp. 343–64
  • Euphronios epoiesen: Un dono d’eccezione ad Ercole Cerite (exh. cat. by A. M. Sgubini Moretti; Rome, Villa Giulia, 1999)
  • J. M. Padgett: ‘Ajax and Achilles on a Calyx-krater by Euphronios’, Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, vol.60/1 (2001), pp. 2–17


(fl c. 515–c. 500 bc).

Greek vase painter. Euthymides signed eight Athenian vases, six as painter, the other two as potter, one of which, an oinochoe (New York, Met., 1981.11.9), he clearly did not paint. Like Euphronios and Phintias, Euthymides was a member of the Pioneer group of artists who explored the possibilities of the recently invented Red-figure technique. His inscription Better than Euphronios on the back of a Type A amphora (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2307) is probably a playful challenge to the older artist rather than a taunt and clearly implies that painters were aware of each other’s work.

Euthymides favoured Type A amphorae and kalpides, but he also painted three neck amphorae, including one (Warsaw, N. Mus., 142332) with twisted handles (a new feature), a pelike, a volute krater, a psykter, a cylindrical stand, a plate, and two cups. His compositions are simple, with big bold figures that rarely overlap. However, he delighted in foreshortening. His subjects range from mythological scenes to scenes of everyday life. His cylindrical stand (Athens, Agora Mus., P 4683) depicts a moment of tranquillity among the gods, with Apollo holding his lyre and standing between Leto and Artemis, while the contrasting Gigantomachy on a fragmentary cup (Athens, Acropolis Mus., 211) attests to Olympian unity in the face of an external threat. Dionysiac scenes appear on three hydriai, two with Dionysos sitting between satyrs and/or maenads (St Petersburg, Hermitage, 624 (St. 1624) and Orvieto, Mus. Etrus. Faina, 68), the third with a satyr creeping up on two nude women at a fountain (ex-Frankfurt am Main; see Beazley, 1971). The komasts on Munich 2307 are similar in spirit. The most famous heroic scene is the Arming of Hektor on Munich 2307 where Hektor’s parents gaze at him with an intensity that seems to be a premonition of his death. A similar but less dramatic composition occurs in the Arming of Thorykion on a Type A amphora (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2308). On another Type A amphora (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2309), Theseus carries off Helen, who is wrongly labelled as Korone. The powerful drawing and bold foreshortening in this scene show Euthymides at the height of his powers. A large painting of Herakles Fighting the Amazons occurs on the neck of the volute krater in Serra Orlando (Morgantina Mus.), a rugged composition possibly inspired by the Amazonomachy on Euphronios’ volute krater in Arezzo (Mus. Archeol. Mecenate, 1465). Finally, Euthymides’ scenes of Athenian daily life include the athletes with their trainer on Munich 2308, also depicted on his psykter in Turin (Mus. Civ. A. Ant., 4123), and the youth pouring wine from a pointed amphora and the symposia on his volute krater in Serra Orlando and on the hydria in Bonn (Rhein. Friedrich-Wilhelms-U., 70).


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 26–9
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 323–4, 520
  • J. D. Beazley: Addenda (1989), pp. 155–6
  • E. Reschke: Die Ringer des Euthymides (Stuttgart, 1990)
  • D. Williams: ‘The Drawing of the Human Figure on Early Red-figure Vases’, Studies in the History of Art, vol.32 (1991), pp. 284–301
  • J. Neils: ‘The Euthymides Krater from Morgantina’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.99 (July 1995), pp. 427–44


  • Mary B. Moore

(fl c. 540–c. 520 bc).

Greek vase painter. He signed two Attic Black-figure vases as potter and painter and eleven simply as potter. Only about 40 pieces by him survive. His drawing style is sure, his line elegant and refined and his human and animal figures always have a noble look. His sensitivity to the intricate relationship between a vase’s shape and its decoration was equalled only by his contemporary, the Amasis Painter.

Exekias’ favourite shapes were the neck amphora and the panel amphora. His early neck amphora (c. 540 bc; Berlin, Antikenmus., 1720), signed as both potter and painter, looks rather old-fashioned compared with a mature specimen (London, BM, B 210; see fig.), signed only as potter, since the latter has the taller, more ovoid form standard from c. 530 bc. Exekias’ masterpiece (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 344), signed as both potter and painter, is another mature work and the earliest canonical Type A amphora, with flanged handles decorated with ivy and a foot in two degrees, consisting of a base fillet above a torus. Equally famous is another work signed by Exekias as potter (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2044), probably the earliest Type A eye cup, with a deep bowl sharply offset from the stem and a pair of apotropaic eyes on each side of the exterior. Exekias’ latest vase (Athens, Agora Mus., P 1044) was also a new shape, the calyx krater, and on his signed dinos (Rome, Villa Giulia, 50599) Exekias pioneered a new decorative scheme limiting figural decoration to the inside of the mouth instead of setting it in friezes on the outside. This system became standard for Attic Black-figure dinoi from c. 530 bc.

Exekias probably deliberately signed his more innovative works. His unsigned shapes include a Panathenaic prize amphora of c. 540 bc (Karlsruhe, Bad. Landesmus., 65.45), which is contemporary with an exquisite pyxis (Brauron Mus.) praising Stesagoras; the miniature figures of the latter resemble those on the shoulders of two neck amphorae (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 89.273 and New York, Met., 17.230.14; see fig.). Other mature works are the splendid funerary plaques of c. 530 bc (Berlin, Antikenmus., 1811–26 and Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 2414–17).

Exekias: Neck amphora with Achilles killing the Amazon Queen Penthesilea, h. 416 mm, Attic black-figure, c. 540–530 bc (London, British Museum)

photo © The British Museum For more information:

Exekias’ ability to render complicated themes in subtle, memorable ways was unsurpassed, and while some mythological scenes, such as his Herakles Choking the Nemean Lion (Berlin, Antikenmus., 1720), conform with the conventions of Archaic Greek art, he excelled at inventing new subjects or reinterpreting old ones. His favourite themes were episodes from the Trojan cycle, the most famous being the scene on a Type A amphora of Ajax and Achilles Playing a Board Game (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 344). The splendidly dressed pair sit opposite each other intent on the game, with their shields framing the picture. Inscriptions provide their names and the results of their throws (Achilles 4, Ajax 3), but, even without these, it is clear that Achilles will win. Thus, while the bare-headed Ajax hunches forward tensely, gripping his two spears tightly together, Achilles sits up straighter and seems grander in his tall, plumed helmet. The subject was new and Exekias’ version was copied by his contemporaries and immediate successors.

Exekias: Type A amphora with Ajax and Achilles Playing a Board Game, h. 610 mm, Attic Black-figure, c. 540–c. 520 bc (Rome, Vatican, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco); photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY

Although Achilles’ Spearing of Penthesilea was normally incorporated into large battle scenes, on two neck amphorae (London, BM, B209 and B210) Exekias concentrated solely on the two protagonists, emphasizing the poignancy of the moment. Sometimes, for other subjects, he presented a fuller picture, as in the now fragmentary representation of the harnessing of Achilles’ chariot team (H. Cahn priv. col., on loan to Antikenmus., Basle, HC 300) or the depiction of a war chariot with a wounded trace horse fallen to its side, while the rest of the team scrambles to safety (Zurich, priv. col.; ex-Roš priv. col., Baden, see Moore, 1982, pl. 76, fig.). This latter scene may represent the Death of Pedasos, the one mortal horse in Achilles’ otherwise invincible team. Exekias was also the first to depict the Fight for the Body of Patroklos (on his calyx krater; Athens, Agora Mus., A-P 1044), showing the youthful corpse lying on the ground, eyes closed, while the Greeks and Trojans attack each other ferociously. The scene’s identity would be uncertain without its accompanying inscriptions. A similar scene, without inscriptions, appears beneath one handle of Exekias’ Munich cup (Staatl. Antikensamml., 2044).

Two of Exekias’ scenes of Ajax are particularly noteworthy. On one side of a Type A amphora (Philadelphia, U. PA, Mus., MS 3442) he brilliantly depicted Ajax’ efforts to lift the dead Achilles. Ajax bends over the corpse with a tight grip on each arm; Achilles’ head hangs down heavily, with the end of the helmet crest trailing on the ground. On two neck amphorae (Berlin, Antikenmus., 1718 and Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 1470) Exekias completely reworked traditional scenes of Ajax Carrying the Body of Achilles Back to the Greek Camp. Thus, while earlier artists showed Achilles’ body stripped of armour and Ajax hardly burdened, he depicted both Achilles and Ajax in full armour, including their heavy shields. The effect is one of slow, deliberate motion. Interestingly, Ajax moves to the left, the direction usually associated with losers in Archaic Greek art, perhaps alluding to the quarrel between Ajax and Odysseus over Achilles’ armour, which led to Ajax’ suicide. Exekias’ version of this scene was also adopted by other Black-figure painters.

Exekias’ treatment of the Suicide of Ajax itself was unique. Vase scenes from the 7th century bc onwards had shown the hero already impaled on his sword. However, on his Type B amphora (Boulogne, Mus. Mun., 558) Exekias chose the moment before Ajax threw himself on the weapon. Ajax crouches, patting down the soil around his sword to plant it firmly in the ground. His furrowed brow expresses his final moments of anguish, while his nudity and bare-headedness suggest vulnerability and the wispy palm tree emphasizes his solitude. Exekias’ version recalls Sophokles’ Ajax (815–22) where Ajax muses on the irony whereby the sword Hektor gave him and the belt he gave to Hektor both helped to bring about their owners’ deaths; and surely both painter and poet drew on the same source.

Other mythological themes also attest to Exekias’ inventiveness. The scene of Dionysos sailing in his boat accompanied by dolphins, inside Exekias’ cup (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2044), is especially important. It may recall the Homeric Hymn of Dionysos (VII. 35–44, 51–3) in which the sailors who had kidnapped the god become terrified when he makes a vine grow as high as the ship’s mast; they consequently jump into the sea and turn into dolphins. However, it may also reflect Dionysos’ mission to spread viticulture throughout Greece. Equally memorable is the Homecoming of the Dioskouroi on a Type A amphora (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 344), a quiet scene that reflects the feelings between family members that do not need to be spoken. So too are the painting on Berlin 1720 of Damophon and Akamas Leading Their Horses and, on an amphora (Orvieto, Mus. Etrus. Faina, 187), the Introduction of Herakles, both with the chariot of Athena. Herakles is also shown on a calyx krater (Athens, Agora Mus., A-P 1044), and on another amphora, sitting with the Olympian gods (Orvieto, Mus. Etrus. Faina, 78). Interestingly, Exekias only once depicted, on a neck amphora (Budapest, Mus. F.A., 50.189) the Dionysiac Revels, a subject that clearly interested the Amasis Painter.

Exekias also painted scenes of daily life, though they were never popular in Attic Black-figure before c. 520 bc. His pyxis (Brauron Mus.) shows a victor in a chariot race holding a palm branch, followed by his unharnessed horses each led by a groom, and a fragmentary amphora (Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A., 4873) depicts a man quietly grazing his horses. Exekias’ fragmentary funerary plaques with scenes of mourning and burial (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 2414, 2417; Berlin, Antikenmus., 1811–26) reveal his sensitivity to the tragic side of human experience.

Exekias showed greater originality than any other Black-figure painter and many Red-figure ones. Moreover, on the rare occasions when he used stock motives or standard compositions, the result was far superior to other treatments of the same themes. He often reduced the number of figures in his compositions to those essential for the narrative. He was a serious painter who could convey moods and psychological states despite the limitations of the Black-figure technique. He preferred scenes displaying tension in subtle ways and occasionally focused on the moment just before an event as the one most pregnant with meaning. His work is characterized by simple compositions and tempered action, with no redundant figures or gestures. These features link him more closely to artists of the high Classical period than to his 6th-century contemporaries.


  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Attic Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 58–68
  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Black-figure Vase Painters (1956), pp. 143–6, 686–7, 714
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 59–61
  • J. Boardman: ‘Exekias’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.82 (1978), pp. 11–25
  • H. Mommsen: ‘Achill und Aias pflichtvergessen?’, Tainia Roland Hampne zum 70. Geburtstag (Mainz, 1980), pp. 139–52
  • M. B. Moore: ‘Exekias and Telamonian Ajax’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.84 (1980), pp. 417–34
  • M. B. Moore: ‘The Death of Pedasos’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.86 (1982), pp. 578–81
  • M. B. Moore: ‘Athena and Herakles on Exekias’ Calyx-krater’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.90 (1986), pp. 35–9
  • M. B. Moore: ‘Exekias and the Harnessing of a Chariot Team’, Antike Kunst, vol.29/2 (1986) pp. 107–14
  • J. D. Beazley: Addenda (1989), pp. 39–42
  • A. Buhl: ‘Zur Restaurierung der Exekias-Amphora 1991/92’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.1 (1994), pp. 1–6
  • H. Mommsen: Exekias (Mainz, 1997)

Ganymede Painter

  • Margot Schmidt

(fl c. 330–c. 320 bc).

Vase painter, active in Apulia. He seems to have worked in close collaboration with a slightly older colleague, the Patera Painter, and was probably active in Tarentum or the area of Canosa. He is named for the scene on the neck of a volute krater (Switzerland, priv. col.) showing Ganymede carried off by Zeus in the guise of a swan (as was usual on Apulian vases) instead of an eagle. Presumably a representation of a blissful afterlife (given the context and the elaborate floral setting of the scene), it may hold a message of funerary symbolism. Indeed most of the Ganymede Painter’s vases, including many volute kraters with mascarons on the handles and characteristically elaborate neck decoration, were evidently destined for funerary use. Among his subjects, scenes depicting grave shrines (naiskoi) predominate, for example the main scene on his name vase. The idea of death is also present in his few other representations of mythological subjects, as on another volute krater (Switzerland, priv. col.), with Amphiaraos Welcomed to the Underworld; on a hydria (U. Zurich, Archäol. Inst.), with Niobe Mourning at the Tomb of her Children; and a situla (Bloomington, IN, U. A. Mus.), with the Metamorphosis of Actaeon. On an amphora (Basle, Antikenmus., S 40), Orpheus himself appears in a grave shrine visiting a man holding a small papyrus roll (possibly the deceased as an Orphic initiate). Among beautiful tendrils and colourful flowers on the necks of the painter’s volute kraters there often appears a female head painted in white and golden-yellow, perhaps a goddess. These colours as well as a lively red are skilfully used for the modelling of secondary objects, for example offerings, such as cuirasses and shields, in the funerary scenes. Gradual transitions from white to golden-yellow often emphasize the highlights and shadows.


  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia, vol.2 (Oxford, 1982), pp. 793–803, pls 294–8
  • K Schauenburg: ‘Zu einigen apulischen Vasen in einer Privatsammlung’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.2 (1989) pp. 227–41
  • A. D. Trendall: Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily. A Handbook (London, 1989), pp. 95–6, figs 238–42
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia: Supplement 2 (London, 1992)

Gorgon Painter

(fl c. 600–c. 580 bc).

Greek vase painter. The Gorgon Painter is named after a dinos with stand (Paris, Louvre, E 874) showing the Gorgons chasing Perseus after he has decapitated their sister Medusa. He decorated only c. 35 extant vases, but these take many shapes; some, such as his namepiece, are large, as are the standed kraters and amphorae, others are smaller, such as oinochoai. One of his lekythoi is of the rare round-bodied type (London, Russell priv. col.; see Beazley, 1956). He was also the first Attic Black-figure artist to decorate plates, and some splendid examples survive. Almost all his vases with known provenances come from Attica, with a few from Naukratis, since at this time Greek vases were not generally exported to Italy.

The Gorgon Painter’s style exhibits some of the boldness of the Nettos Painter, but he preferred smaller formats, often with the figure or figures in a panel. This use of panels was an innovation and probably explains his liking for amphorae and oinochoai. He probably also introduced horse-head amphorae, which have panels on each side containing the head of a horse. The earliest examples (c. 600 bc) closely resemble the heads of the chariot horses on his namepiece and on one of his standed kraters (Athens, Acropolis Mus., 474). So far, however, no horse-head amphora has been securely attributed to the Gorgon Painter, and caution is necessary in crediting him with the invention of this restrained and rather sombre series of vases, probably intended as grave markers.

The Gorgon Painter generally painted animals, either singly as on his oinochoai, in opposed pairs as on the amphorae, or in friezes as in the secondary zone of his namepiece and on his plates. His namepiece represents his main contribution to the depiction of mythological subjects, while a standard krater (Athens, Acropolis Mus., 474) shows a frontal chariot, perhaps with mythological connotations, as well as a figure of Hermes in an animal frieze.


  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 15–16
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 8–10
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 6–7
  • K. M. Lynch and J. K. Papadopoulos: ‘Sella Cacatoria: A Study of the Potty in Archaic and Classical Athens’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, vol.75/1 (Jan–March 2006), pp. 1–32

Group E

  • Jody Maxmin

(fl mid-6th century bc).

Greek vase painters. Approximately 100 Attic Black-figure vases are attributed to this group, which J. D. Beazley, its creator, described as ‘large and compact’ (Beazley, 1931/2). The ‘E’ stands for ‘Exekianizing’, because the Group’s work anticipated Exekias. Beazley’s three lists of Group E vases differ, however, in their degree of ‘connection with Exekias’. The first (1931/2) contains 42 examples, many so coherent in shape, subject-matter, and style that they may be by one man. The most popular vases are Type B amphorae, large vessels with panels depicting the Group’s recurrent themes: Herakles and the Lion, Theseus and the Minotaur, the Birth of Athena, and scenes with chariots in frontal view. Most of the paintings are in a style that, though sober and technically competent, is rather loose and sketchy. Some of the finer paintings, however, combine technical control with an elegance and restraint that clearly anticipate Exekias. The finest of these is a well-shaped amphora (Paris, Louvre, F53), painted with an exacting, almost Exekian touch. Its chariot scene features horses with a bearing and style foreshadowing those of Exekias, and two have names that Exekias gave to his thoroughbreds. Though the reverse of the vase was actually signed by Exekias as potter, and the whole piece surpasses the rest in technical refinement and proximity to Exekias, Beazley was cautious about attribution of the paintings. He concluded simply that most of the first list was by one painter and that Louvre F53 ‘and group E or part of it’ might eventually prove to be ‘early work of Exekias himself’. In Beazley’s second list (1956) of 71 Group E vases some of the new examples clearly resemble Exekias’ work; others do so only vaguely. Finally, many of the newcomers on Beazley’s third list (1971) of 90 vases have no significant ties with Exekias at all. Several of these (e.g. the pointed neck amphora; Beazley, 1971, p. 57, no. 58ter) are so unlike Exekias’ work that Beazley may simply have been using Group E as a repository for unattributed mid-6th-century bc vases. Two works ascribed to the group since Beazley’s death do, however, vindicate his early hopes. On an amphora (Toledo, OH, Mus. A., 80.1022) signed by Exekias as potter, one of the careering chariots is driven by Anchippos, which is the name of the mounted hoplite on Louvre F53, and the other’s exquisite horses include one named Kalliphoras, as on Louvre F53 and on several vases painted by Exekias. An eye cup (New York, Met., L.1981.145) is still more evocative of Exekias, foreshadowing his famous Dionysos cup (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2044), with its decorative eyes, nose, and eyebrows on either side, and battling warriors around the handles.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Groups of Mid-sixth-century Black-Figure’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.32 (1931/2), pp. 1–22
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 63–4
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 133–8
  • M. B. Moore: ‘Horses by Exekias’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.72 (1968), pp. 357–68
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 54–7

Group of the Huge Lekythoi

  • Irma Wehgartner

(fl c. 410–c. 400 bc).

Greek vase painters. The five White-ground lekythoi painted with matt colours attributed to this ‘group’ apparently come from the same Athenian workshop and represent the work of one artist rather than several, since their technical and stylistic peculiarities set them apart from all other examples of this shape. These features include: huge size (h. 680–1100 mm), which gives the group its name; a separate mouth; the absence of a bottom; a White ground even on areas normally painted black; a modified system of ornamentation (no meander above the picture); and different patterns (e.g. a wreath of leaves) on the shoulder. They suggest that the vases imitate the marble lekythoi being produced in Athens at that time as funerary monuments.

The principal art-historical importance of the Group of the Huge Lekythoi is the manner in which their pictures are painted: the pictures are richly polychromatic and show some attempt to depict objects in perspective, but a further peculiarity is the use of shading, albeit partial and imperfect. While female bodies are painted white and left unshaded, male bodies are painted reddish brown and shaded with a hatching composed of fine dark strokes. However, there is no use of highlights. These lekythoi nevertheless constitute important early examples of shadow painting (skiagraphia) in Greek art, which is known from literary sources to have been developed at the end of the 5th century bc. The iconography of the pictures is traditional (the visit to the grave, the prothesis). The pictures are close in style to those on Group R lekythoi, but without the same quality in line and expression.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, p. 1390
  • F. Brommer: ‘Eine Lekythos in Madrid’, Madrider Mitteilungen, vol.10 (1969), pp. 155–71
  • D. C. Kurtz: Athenian White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1975), pp. 68–73
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)
  • M. Robertson: The art of vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 244–5

Group R

  • Irma Wehgartner

(fl c. 420–c. 410 bc).

Greek vase painters. The output of this group consists of largish White-ground lekythoi. Their shape, ornamentation, painting technique, and colouring (red contour lines, blackish grey ornamentation, and matt blue or green drapery) show that they are from the same workshop as the lekythoi of the Reed Painter, hence the label ‘Group R’ (short for ‘Reed Painter’). According to J. D. Beazley (1938), these works may have been produced by more than one painter, but the two most famous and best-preserved lekythoi in the group (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1816 and 1817) are definitely by the same hand. All the Group R lekythoi exhibit extremely meticulous and subtle outline drawing, particularly apparent in the figures’ eloquent hands: the lively contours and twisting bodies give an impression of plasticity and depth. The faces frequently have melancholy expressions with slightly lowered eyes surrounded by lashes and are often seen in three-quarter view; this melancholy is also reflected in the figural poses. Some are bent or slumped forwards, leaning languidly on a stick or a lance; heads are generally bowed, and the hands often hang limply. Almost all the pictures show grave scenes with three figures, with the deceased person sitting at the centre in front of a broad funerary stele, with a male or female figure standing on either side. Female mourners hold the traditional offerings for the dead (baskets of fillets and oil flasks) and occasionally weapons. Their hair is nearly always short as a sign of mourning, not tied up in a chignon as often in works by the Reed Painter. They make none of the usual gestures of mourning, such as tearing the hair or beating the breast: the grief is internalized.

The paintings of Group R have long been associated with Parrhasios, a famous panel painter. Ancient descriptions of his skills and techniques tally remarkably well with the characteristics of Group R pictures, but the different requirements of vase and panel painting must be borne in mind.


  • J. D. Beazley: Attic White Lekythoi (London, 1938), pp. 24–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1383–4, 1692
  • S. Papaspyridi-Karusu: ‘Scherbe einer attischen weissgrundigen Lekythos’, Antike und Abendland, vol.5 (1956), pp. 71–4
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), p. 486
  • D. C. Kurtz: Athenian White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1975), pp. 58–68
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)
  • I. Wehgartner: Attisch weissgrundige Keramik (Mainz, 1983), p. 29
  • M. Robertson: The art of vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 252–3

Heidelberg Painter

  • H. A. G. Brijder

(fl c. 560–c. 540 bc).

Greek vase painter. With the C Painter and the Griffin Bird Painter he was the most prolific painter of Athenian Black-figure Siana cups, decorating some 150 extant specimens, which he probably also made, as well as skyphoi, a panel amphora, and a kantharos.

The Heidelberg Painter was not a meticulous draughtsman: his incision is usually rather coarse, his best work occurring on double-deckers of his middle period such as his name vases (Heidelberg, Ruprecht-Karls-U., Samml. Ant. Kleinkst Archäol. Inst.). He was a shorter-lived contemporary of the Amasis Painter, and each influenced the other, favouring fringed garments and static, symmetrical compositions around central figures. Herakles was his favourite tondo figure, depicted with the lion, the boar, Nereus, Nessos, and an Amazon. Two opposed figures also occur frequently, especially those of Dionysos, Aphrodite, and Ariadne, and the cups’ exteriors were decorated using both the overlap and double-decker systems. The subjects on these exteriors cover mythology, warfare, sport, and Dionysiac revels. The Heidelberg Painter was the first to establish the iconographic repertory involving Dionysos and Herakles.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Amasea’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.51 (1931), pp. 275–82
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 46–8
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 63–7, 682
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 26–7
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (London, 1974), p. 33
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)
  • H. A. G. Brijder: Siana Cups I and Komast Cups, Allard Pierson Series, vol.4 (Amsterdam, 1983)
  • H. A. G. Brijder: ‘Changing the Subject: Evidence on Siana Cups’, Ancient Greek and Related Pottery: Proceedings of the International Vase Symposium in Amsterdam, 12–15 April 1984, pp. 248–51
  • H. A. G. Brijder: ‘A Pre-dramatic Performance of a Satyr Chorus by the Heidelberg Painter’, Enthousiasmos: Essays Presented to J. M. Hemelrijk (Amsterdam, 1986), pp. 879–91
  • A. Blair Brownlee: ‘Attic Black-figure from Corinth, I’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, vol.56 (1987), pp. 73–95, nos 14 and 25
  • H. A. G. Brijder: Siana Cups II: The Heidelberg Painter (Amsterdam, 1991)
  • Corp. Vasorum Ant., Netherlands, Amsterdam, vol.2 (1996), pp. 22–330
  • H. A. G. Brijder, in P. Heesen: The J. L. Theodor Collection of Attic Black-Figure Vases, Allard Pierson Series, vol.10 (Amsterdam, 1996), pp. 118–23
  • F. G. Lo Porto: ‘Tre nuove coppe di “Siana” da Taranto’, Xenia Antiqua, vol.6 (1997), pp. 18–22
  • N. Malagardis: ‘Le peintre de Heidelberg et le milieu des novateurs du céramique d’Athènes au Vie siècle’, Festschrift Nikolaos Zapheiropoulos (Athens, 1999), pp. 202–19
  • H. A. G. Brijder: ‘Heidelberg Painter’, Siana Cups III: The Red-black and Griffin-bird Painters, and Lip-cup-like Sianas, Allard Pierson Series (Amsterdam, forthcoming)

Hirschfeld Painter

  • Nicolas Coldstream

(fl c. 750–c. 730 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was active in Athens during the first phase of the Late Geometric (lg) style. He is named after a monumental pedestalled krater (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 990; see fig.), published in 1872 by G. Hirschfeld shortly after its discovery in the Dipylon cemetery. Like several other more fragmentary kraters by the same vase painter, it is decorated with funerary imagery and was designed to mark an aristocratic male burial. The main scene shows the ekphora ceremony, in which the dead man on the bier is conveyed by waggon to the grave, attended by mourners. A retinue of chariots, driven by armed warriors, fills the zone below. As on other important vases by this painter or from his workshop, geometric ornament plays only a subsidiary part in the decoration. The Hirschfeld krater is contemporary with the later monumental vases from the Dipylon Master’s workshop, but the style of the figures in silhouette is quite different. Female mourners are distinguished by short strokes for breasts; their heads are in profile, with beaky noses, and eyes reserved and dotted. As they tear their hair, their bent arms and broad shoulders form a rectangle; their chests are frontal, forming concave equilateral triangles. The legs are shown with calves in profile but frontal thighs, thus appearing bow-legged. Chariot horses have a stiff and frozen look, with insubstantial bodies, trumpet-shaped muzzles, and elongated cannon bones. Other vases from the Hirschfeld Painter’s workshop depict goats equally idiosyncratically; these are either standing or kneeling, but always looking to the front with large, inquiring eyes. Among the filling ornaments, dotted motifs prevail.

Hirschfeld Painter: Ovoid krater, Attic Geometric, c. 750–735 bc (Athens, National Archaeological Museum); photo credit: Nimatallah/Art Resource, NY


  • J. M. Davison: Attic Geometric Workshops, Yale Classical Studies, vol.16 (New Haven, 1961), pp. 36–40, 141–2
  • J. N. Coldstream: Greek Geometric Pottery (London, 1968), pp. 41–4

Hunt Painter

  • Maria Pipili

(fl c. 565–c. 530 bc).

Greek vase painter. His name derives from two cups (Florence, Mus. Archeol., 85118; Leipzig, Karl-Marx-U. [now U. Leipzig], Archäol. Inst., T 302; Paris, Louvre, E 670) showing a boar hunt, possibly the legendary Kalydonian one. He had a long career, and many of his vases survive. His range of subject-matter and quality of drawing make him one of the most important Lakonian vase painters. Unlike the earlier Naukratis Painter and Boreads Painter, whose work shows Corinthian influence, the Hunt Painter owed more to Attic vase painting for both his drawing style and his iconography. Apart from cups, which were widely exported, he painted a hydria found on Rhodes (Rhodes, Archaeol. Mus., 15373) and a few lakainai, which come from Sparta itself. He probably invented a new shape of cup, the Lakonian droop cup (e.g. Oxford, Ashmolean, 1935.192; Taranto, Mus. N., 52847), similar to the contemporary Attic droop cup, though it is not known which variety was developed first, and he apparently produced more inscribed vases than any other Lakonian vase painter. The Hunt Painter favoured narrative scenes and had a rich mythological repertory, often using episodes from the story of Herakles. He also painted such everyday scenes as fighting, hunting, and revelling. Both of the hunting scenes after which he is named are porthole compositions, with part of the image cut off by the frame of the tondo, a characteristic device employed several times by the Hunt Painter.


  • E. A. Lane: ‘Lakonian Vase-painting’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.34 (1933/4), pp. 141–3
  • B. B. Shefton: ‘Three Laconian Vase-painters’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.49 (1954), pp. 306–8
  • C. M. Stibbe: Lakonische Vasenmaler des sechsten Jahrhunderts v. Chr., 2 vols (Amsterdam and London, 1972), pp. 121–50, pls 68–87
  • J. K. Papadopoulos: ‘King of the Roost: A Note of the Lakonian Cup by the Hunt Painter in Sydney’, Antike Kunst, vol.36/1 (1993) pp. 84–5

Kadmos Painter

  • Lucilla Burn

(fl c. 420–c. 400 bc).

Greek vase painter. About 40 Attic Red-figure vases, all large, have been attributed to the Kadmos Painter, whose work is similar but superior to that of the Pothos Painter; there also seem to have been connections with the Meidias Painter. Active in Athens, most of his paintings are on bell kraters, but the finer work occurs on calyx and column kraters, hydriai, and pelikai, and on the one volute krater attributed to him (Ruvo di Puglia, Mus. Jatta, 1093), a vase of monumental proportions. His more modestly sized name vase (Berlin, Pergamonmus., 2634) is one of a pair of elegant hydriai. It is finely potted, with immaculate and unusual floral decoration; its figure scene does not show the actual struggle between Kadmos and the serpent, but a static assembly of participants and observers. The Kadmos Painter favoured elaborate, multi-figured, and often unusual mythological scenes. The contest between Apollo and Marsyas occurs six times; another frequent subject was Dionysos, who was depicted not only in conventional compositions with satyrs and maenads but also banqueting with Herakles, greeting Apollo at Delphi and approaching the abandoned Ariadne on Naxos. Other rare themes include Theseus’ visit to the seabed and Herakles on the pyre. The scenes quite frequently include a tripod, possibly indicating the influence of dithyrambs. The Kadmos Painter was a competent draughtsman, but his compositions are weak; the multi-figure scenes, with characters set at different levels, are stiffly and rather symmetrically arranged, with little interaction between the figures.


  • Enc. A. Ant.: ‘Cadmo, Pittore di’
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1184–7
  • H. Sichtermann: Griechische Vasen in Unteritalien aus der Sammlung Jatta in Ruvo (Tübingen, 1966), pp. 20–21
  • H. Froning: Dithyrambos und Vasenmalerei in Athen (Würzburg, 1971), pp. 29–51
  • W. Real: Studien zur Entwicklung der Vasenmalerei im ausgehenden 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Münster, 1973), pp. 75–83
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases, the Classical Period (London, 1989), p. 167
  • N. Eschbach: ‘Eine Preisamphora in Giessen und Uberlegungen zur Kuban-Gruppe [with catalog]’, Jahrbuch des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts [prev. pubd as Jb. Ksr. Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.107 (1992) pp. 33–58


  • Mary B. Moore

(fl c. 570–c. 560 bc).

Greek vase painter. He signed five Attic vases as painter, always in collaboration with the potter Ergotimos. The most famous of these is a volute krater, the so-called François Vase (Florence, Mus. Archeol., 4209; see fig.); the others are smaller vessels—a standlet (New York, Met., 31.11.4) and three Gordion cups, only one of which (Berlin, Antikenmus., 4604) has figural decoration. Other paintings attributed to him are on drinking vessels (skyphoi or kantharoi), mainly from excavations on the Athenian Acropolis, and they are in fragmentary condition.

Kleitias: François Vase (detail) depicting Centauromachy, Attic Black-figure, c. 600–c. 560 bc (Florence, Museo Archeologico di Firenze); photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY

Kleitias’ drawing style is crisp and precise. Though his figures are usually small, they are vigorous and robust, and he was a master at balancing colourful and decorative elements with simple and plain ones. He almost always identified his figures with inscriptions, as on the François Vase. This vase brilliantly exemplifies Kleitias’ delight in narrative, and the dignified procession of Olympian gods attending the marriage of Peleus and Thetis is especially memorable. The striking figure of Dionysos looks straight out, as if inviting the viewer to join the festivities. Peleus and Thetis were Achilles’ parents; hence, no doubt, the positioning directly below the wedding scene of a scene from the Trojan War with Achilles pursuing Troilos. There was a prophecy that if Troilos reached his twentieth birthday, the Greeks would not take Troy. Most poignant here is the startled reaction of Troilos’ father, Priam, when Antenor reports his son’s impending death. Other scenes on this magnificent vase are: the Kalydonian Boar Hunt, in which the deaths of a hunter and a dog are especially vividly portrayed; the Victory Dance of Theseus after the Killing of the Minotaur (see also two fragments in Athens, Acropolis Mus., 596 and 598), in which one of Theseus’ shipmates sees the celebration and throws up his arms in joy while another swims to shore with long powerful strokes; the rarely depicted Funeral Games of Patroklos; Ajax Carrying the Body of Achilles, a Trojan episode that appears on the back of each handle; a humorous depiction of the Return of Hephaistos to Olympos, with a glum Hera stuck to her throne, a triumphant-looking Dionysos and Athena taunting Ares for his failure to persuade Hephaistos to return to Olympos; and finally, on the foot, the amusing scene of Pygmies Fighting Cranes. One often overlooked detail is the running Gorgon on the downward curve of each handle just above the rim: when the vase was filled with wine, the Gorgons would appear to run over the sea, as they did when chasing Perseus. Kleitias’ other mythological scenes are fragmentary but nevertheless attest to his ability to convey the essence of the subject. They include a fragment depicting the Birth of Athena (Athens, Acropolis Mus., 597), in which the goddess springs fully armed from the head of her father Zeus (the earliest known painting of this subject), and a neck fragment from a volute krater with Odysseus Escaping from the Cave of Polyphemos (Basle, Herbert Cahn priv. col., 1418), which joins another fragment illustrating Perseus and the Gorgons (Moscow, Pushkin Mus. F.A., 2986; see von Bothmer).

Kleitias was not only a master of Attic Black-figure technique but also one of the first artists to demonstrate its expressive potential. He paved the way for the narrative achievements of his successors of the mid-6th century bc.

For further discussion see Greece, ancient, §V, 5, (ii).


  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 24–34
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 76–8, 682
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960); Eng. trans. and rev. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 286–92
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), p. 29
  • M. Cristofani: ‘Il cratere François nella storia dell’archeologia “romantica”’, Bollettino d’arte [cont. as Arti: Rass. Bimest. A. Ant. & Mod.; Boll. A.], special ser., vol.1 (1980), pp. 11–23 [good illus.]
  • D. von Bothmer: ‘A New Kleitias Fragment from Egypt’, Antike Kunst [Basle], vol.24 (1981), pp. 66–7
  • J. D. Beazley: Addenda (1989), pp. 21–2
  • C. Isler-Kerenyi: ‘Dionysos im Gotterzug bei Sophilos und bei Kleitias’, Antike Kunst, vol.40/2 (1997) pp. 67–81

Kleophon Painter

  • John H. Oakley

(fl c. 440–c. 420/410 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after a kalos inscription praising the youth Kleophon on an Attic Red-figure stamnos (St Petersburg, Hermitage, B 2353). He was initially a member of the workshop of Polygnotos, but also worked with the Achilles Painter, as a Nolan amphora (Angers, Mus. Turpin de Crissé, 13), lekythos (New York, Met., 22.139.189) and pelike (London, BM, E 392) attest, and he eventually taught the Dinos Painter. The attribution to him of the White-ground work of the Bosanquet Painter and Thanatos Painter (Felten) is unconvincing. However, a Black-figure Panathenaic amphora (Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyp., 3606) may be his.

The Kleophon Painter mainly decorated large pots, particularly kraters, stamnoi, pelikai, and loutrophoroi, but also a few small vases, including a cup, lekythos, and skyphos. His draughtsmanship is among the best of its time and reflects the style of the Parthenon sculptures. His figures’ poses are often simple, solemn, and majestic. Their tilted heads suggest emotion, and their rapt expressions have a certain nobility. Their intense, well-drawn eyes, and the two parallel strokes which often occur at the centre of the ear, are characteristic. Many figures in the procession in honour of Apollo on one side of a volute krater (Ferrara, Mus. N. Archeol., 44894) seem to be copied from the Parthenon frieze, and, significantly, one of the artist’s vases, a calyx krater, was found in the workshop of the sculptor Pheidias at Olympia (Olympia, Archaeol. Mus.).

The painter frequently repeated the same scenes, occasionally with almost the same compositions and poses, as illustrated by two stamnoi with his favourite scene, the departure of a warrior (St Petersburg, Hermitage, B 1148; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2415). Other scenes from daily life that he repeated frequently include revels, sacrifice, and women in their quarters. His myth scenes are rare, and their iconography is derived from vases produced in Polygnotos’ workshop. Again they are often repetitive: Amazonomachies are the most common, while the Return of Hephaistos and the Contest between Apollo and Marsyas each occur on two vases. The latter illustrates the Kleophon Painter’s interest in musical performances, also attested by one of his most important vases, a bell krater (Copenhagen, Nmus., 13817) depicting a dithyrambic chorus. Stock figures of mantled youths often decorate the backs of his vases.

The painter’s style deteriorated towards the end of his career. His later figures, such as those on a loutrophoros with an interesting scene of warriors at a tomb (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1700), are more sketchily drawn, have less anatomical detail and often have rather puffy musculature. The drapery is more detailed, but lacks its earlier fluency.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1143–51, 1684, 1703, 1707
  • G. Gualandi: ‘Le ceramiche del pittore di Kleophon rinvenute a Spina’, Arte antica e moderna, vol.17 (1962), pp. 227–60
  • G. Gualandi: ‘Il pittore di Kleophon’, Arte antica e moderna, vol.17 (1962), pp. 341–83
  • K. F. Felten: Thanatos- und Kleophonmaler: Weissgrundige und rotfigurige Vasenmalerei der Parthenonzeit (Munich, 1971)
  • C. Isler-Kerényi: ‘Chronologie und “Synchronologie” attischer Vasenmaler der Parthenonzeit’, Antike Kunst, suppl. 9: Festschrift für H. Bloesch (1973), pp. 29–30, 32–3
  • M. Halm-Tisserant: Le Peintre de Cléophon (diss., U. Strasbourg, 1984)
  • S. B. Matheson: Polygnotos and Vase-Painting in Classical Athens (Madison, WI, 1995)

Kleophrades Painter

  • Beth Cohen

(fl c. 505–c. 475 bc).

Greek vase painter. He produced some of the finest examples of Attic Red-figure vase painting (see Greece, ancient, §V, 6, (i)), but, since none of his preserved works is signed, he is named after the potter Kleophrades, son of Amasis, whose signature appears on an early, exceptionally large Red-figure cup (Paris, Bib. N., 535, 699). The signature ‘Epiktetos’ on a late pelike (Berlin, Antikenmus., 2170) is a modern forgery. Nonsense inscriptions appear on his early vases, and for long afterwards he generally only wrote either kalos or kale (never specifying a love name), or standard inscriptions on Panathenaic amphorae. Later, however, he began to label mythological characters, sometimes alluding to literary sources.

Though scholars once believed that the Kleophrades Painter was not Athenian, his juvenilia (e.g. a hydria, Salerno, Mus. Civico, 1371; psykters, Compiègne, Mus. Vivenel, 1068; Paris, Louvre, G 57), as well as the general robustness of his style, derive from the Pioneer group of Attic Red-figure artists. Euthymides has been called his teacher, but he must also have learnt early from Euphronios. The Kleophrades Painter was among the last great Attic vase painters to use the Black-figure technique for works other than Panathenaic amphorae. He applied it to neck amphorae and lids, as well as to subsidiary friezes on Red-figure pots (e.g. an amphora, Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2305; a loutrophoros, Paris, Louvre, CA 453). The Athenas on his Panathenaic amphorae have pegasos shield devices, and the sports most commonly depicted are chariot races and foot races (e.g. New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G., 1909.12, 1909.13; Paris, Louvre, F 277).

Most of the nearly 150 vases and fragments attributed to the Kleophrades Painter are large shapes, often decorated in special ways. His liking throughout his career for impressive Red-figure calyx kraters (e.g. New York, Met., 08.258.58; Tarquinia, Pal. Vitelleschi, RC 4196) and kalpides (e.g. Rouen, Mus. Ant., 25; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2426) probably reflects the early influence of Euphronios. On these shapes, however, the Kleophrades Painter sometimes ran the figural friezes all the way round, as on his unusual, decorated, pointed amphorae (Berlin, Antikenmus., 1970.5; Munich, Antikensamml., 2344). Since his early output included psykters, which normally bore continuous friezes, the scheme may have been borrowed from them. During his prime, the Kleophrades Painter produced a series of vases without framed panels, which simply had single or paired statuesque red figures on meander bases on each side. He employed this format on neck amphorae (e.g. New York, Met., 13.233; London, BM, E 270) and amphorae of Panathenaic shape (e.g. Leiden, Rijksmus. Oudhd., PC 80; Basle, Antikenmus.), and later on a Type A amphora (U. Würzburg, Wagner-Mus., 508), at least one bell krater (Basle, Antikenmus.), and several pelikai (e.g. Berlin, Antikenmus., 2170). The Kleophrades Painter rivalled the supreme exponent of this decorative mode, his contemporary, the Berlin Painter. His bold stamnoi (e.g. Paris, Louvre, C 10748 and G 55) and simplified, more pedestrian pelikai (e.g. Copenhagen, Nmus., 149; Berlin, Antikenmus., 2170) were produced only later in his career as his powers began to wane. He evidently also decorated significant quantities of cups and small vases, but only a few survive, most of which are either early or late works (e.g. cups, Paris, Bib. N., 535, 699; London, BM, E 73; a skyphos, Florence, Mus. Archeol., 4218).

The Kleophrades Painter consistently chose particular forms of ornament: simple key patterns; more complex meanders, often interrupted by black or cross-filled squares (especially for lower borders); egg patterns, especially for rims and lower panel-borders on hydriai; palmettes in both horizontal picture-borders and independent friezes; net patterns for vertical borders, especially on hydriai and pelikai; and tongues just beneath the junction of body and neck, on psykters, and stamnoi. Significantly, the patterns on his earliest works are black (e.g. a hydria, Salerno; amphorae, Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus.; Munich, Antikensamml., 2305) or bilingual ornament (e.g. an amphora, U. Würzburg, Wagner-Mus., 507; calyx kraters, Paris, Louvre, G 48; Tarquinia, Pal. Vitelleschi, RC 4196). Similarly several of his Red-figure vases adhere to Black-figure decorative schemes: for example the volute krater with figural friezes only on the neck (Malibu, CA, Getty Mus., 77.AE.11 and 76.AE.132.1B) and the cup with a decorated zone around the tondo (London, BM, E 73).

Several distinctive characteristics mark the Kleophrades Painter’s style. He usually incised hair contours rather than reserving them in standard Red-figure fashion, and he often left loose strands along the lower edges of women’s hair and sometimes rendered all the hair strand by strand, rather than as a solid black mass. His early figures have ear lobes that project forwards, and other features that continued to occur, including the depiction of the pupil and iris detailed as dot within circle, often in dilute glaze; aquiline noses with a rounded nostril indicated by a black relief line; lips bordered above and below by black lines; back views with a black line representing the spine; broad frontal knees; hooks for ankles and frontal feet with circular toes. He repeatedly depicted satyrs and centaurs with expressive frontal faces (e.g. a calyx krater, Cambridge, MA, Sackler Mus., 1960.236; a skyphos, Florence, Mus. Archeol., 4218) and produced some of the first three-quarter-view human faces (a stamnos, London, BM, E 441). Later in his career he used a black line for the linea alba and treated collarbones as a single, long line with a semicircular depression at the centre. The Kleophrades Painter’s masterly drawing is enhanced by nuances of texture and colour: glazed clay dots for curls and grapes; dilute glaze for light hair and animals’ hides; red for minor objects such as wreaths, flowers, and thongs; and even white, as for the hair of old men.

The Kleophrades Painter’s subjects are fairly typical of the early 5th century bc, including themes from everyday life as well as myth and legend. He drew musicians, amorous youths, athletes and trainers, and warriors arming or leaving home, along with heroes such as Herakles, Theseus, and Achilles. Scenes of Dionysos and of satyrs and maenads featured on important works throughout his career. The continuous frieze on an early calyx krater (Cambridge, MA, Sackler Mus., 1960.236) depicts The Return of Hephaistos, and the figures are still based on the elegant, simple silhouettes of Euthymides, though the composition is more monumental. There is great variety in the figures’ poses and attributes, and vitality in the satyrs. The Kleophrades Painter’s individual style is more developed in the continuous frieze on a pointed amphora (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2344) depicting Dionysos with his entourage. Here the scene is enlivened by washes of dilute glaze, as on the god’s metal kantharos, animal skins and snakes, and made more intense by the painter’s psychological insight, as in the depiction of the blonde maenad with her head tossed back in Dionysiac frenzy. A later Return of Hephaistos depicted around a calyx krater from his mature period (Paris, Louvre, G 162) is unusual in including Hera ensnared in the trick throne. The procession here is led by Hermes, and the scene has some unexpected details, such as Hephaistos in a workman’s cap riding his mule side-saddle, and Dionysos drunkenly trailing behind, supported by a satyr. Eyes are shown in different positions in their sockets and indicate the mood or physical condition of an individual or the relationships between figures.

The mature works of the Kleophrades Painter often avoid intense action, instead focusing on the prelude or aftermath of an event, anticipating Classical Greek drama. A neck amphora with twisted handles (c. 490–c. 480 bc; New York, Met., 13.233) has a magnificently drawn Herakles turning expectantly as he flees with the Delphic tripod, pursued by the elegant figure of Apollo on the other side of the vase. A later Type A amphora with unframed decoration (U. Würzburg, Wagner-Mus., 508) shows the Exchange of Gifts between Ajax and Hector. The heroes appear on opposite sides of the vase, here restrained by wise elders, Phoinix and probably Priam, and the opposed pairs are almost mirror images.

Representations of the aged regularly appear on the Kleophrades Painter’s mature works. In the panel of a late kalpis, Phineus and the Harpies (85.AE.316), three unusually charming, flying harpies steal loaves of bread and meat from Phineus’ table. The blind prophet Phineus, King of Thrace, is a study of old age and infirmity. His sagging profile is topped by sparse hair shaved close to the skull, while his blind eye is rendered by a single curved black line. His hands, outstretched in protest, flail ineffectually at the air. The result is a mixture of the poignant and the playful characteristic of the Kleophrades Painter.

The Kleophrades Painter’s most famous composition occurs in a long frieze around another kalpis, the Vivenzio Hydria (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., 2422), and depicts events and images from the fall of Troy: Aeneas Carrying Anchises, fallen warriors, the Rape of Cassandra, Trojan Women Lamenting, the Death of Priam, a scene in which ?Andromache is shown attacking a Greek warrior with a pestle, and the Rescue of Aithra by her Grandsons. This extraordinary panorama of death, despair, valour, and hope was perhaps inspired by the Persian invasion of Athens in 480 bc. The Kleophrades Painter’s brilliant innovations in composition and his rendering of human mental and physical states foreshadowed the work of the great muralist Polygnotos of Thasos. His style evolved from the experiments of the Pioneer group and approached the developed forms of Early Classical times.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Kleophrades’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.30 (1910), pp. 38–68
  • J. D. Beazley: Der Kleophrades-Maler (Berlin, 1933; Eng. trans., Mainz, 1974)
  • G. M. A. Richter: ‘The Kleophrades Painter’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.40 (1936), pp. 100–15
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 181–93; vol.2, pp. 1631–3
  • L. Schnitzler: ‘Vom Kleophrades-Maler’, Opscula Atheniensia, vol.2 (1955), pp. 47–60
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 404–6, 696, 715
  • R. Lullies: Die Spitzamphora des Kleophrades-Malers (Bremen, 1957)
  • A. H. Ashmead: ‘Fragments by the Kleophrades Painter from the Athenian Agora’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, vol.35 (1966), pp. 20–36
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 175–6, 340–41
  • A. Greifenhagen: Neue Fragmente des Kleophradesmalers (Heidelberg, 1972)
  • J. Boardman: ‘The Kleophrades Painter’s Cup in London’, J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol.1 (1974), pp. 7–13
  • J. Boardman: ‘The Kleophrades Painter at Troy’, Antike Kunst, vol.19 (1976), pp. 3–18
  • J. Frel: ‘The Kleophrades Painter in Malibu’, J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol.4 (1977), pp. 63–76
  • J. Boardman and U. Gehrig: ‘Epiktetos II R.I.P.’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.] (1981), pp. 329–32
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982; rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 105, 186–9
  • B. Cohen: ‘Paragone: Sculpture Versus Painting, Kaineus and the Kleophrades Painter’, Ancient Greek Art and Iconography, ed. W. G. Moon (Madison, 1983), pp. 171–92
  • M. Robertson: ‘Fragments of a Dinos and a Cup Fragment by the Kleophrades Painter’, Occasional Papers in Antiquities: Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vol.1/1 (1983), pp. 51–4
  • S. Matheson: ‘Panathenaic Amphorae by the Kleophrades Painter’, Occasional Papers in Antiquities: Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vol.5/4 (1989), pp. 95–112
  • E. Kunze-Götte: Der Kleophrades-Maler unter Malern schwarzfiguriger Amphoren: Eine Werkstattstudie (Mainz, 1992)
  • M. Robertson: The art of vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 43, 56–68, 73, 75–7, 94–5, 133–4, 140–41, 197
  • M. B. Moore: Attic Red-figured and White-ground Pottery, The Athenian Agora, vol.30 (Princeton, 1997), pp. 92–3, 174–8, 352, 355
  • D. Williams: ‘From Pelion to Troy: Two Skyphoi by the Kleophrades Painter’, Athenian Potters and Painters, ed. J. H. Oakley, W. D. E. Coulson and O. Palagia (Oxford, 1997), pp. 195–201

Kodros Painter

  • Lucilla Burn

(fl c. 445–c. 430 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after a scene in the tondo of a fine Attic Red-figure cup (Bologna, Mus. Civ. Archeol., PU 273), in which the heroic Kodros, last king of Athens, sets out for battle. On the outside of the cup are two further scenes of heroes departing: Theseus and Phorbas, and Ajax with Menestheus. In both cases the leave-takings are watched by figures closely associated with Athens; Aigeus, Athena, Melite, and Lykos. This cup was painted in the 430s bc, in the years preceding the Peloponnesian War (431–404 bc) when many Athenians were themselves setting out for battles.

As a Late Classical artist the Kodros Painter was one of the last vase painters to specialize in decorating cups, which had had their greatest vogue in late Archaic times. He was probably a slightly older contemporary of the Eretria Painter and Aison, and stylistically he had much in common with them both. His floruit dates coincided with the construction of the Parthenon, and his style and temperament recall its sculptures. Over 52 cups or fragments of cups are attributed to him, and his work is distinctive. Anatomical details are lightly but convincingly rendered, with small, neat facial features and characteristically convoluted shell-like ears. He skilfully depicted his figures in various poses; in profile or three-quarter back view, crouching, or even flying through the air. The palmettes under the handles of his cups and the patterned borders of the tondi are also consistently neat and elegant.

The Kodros Painter’s subject-matter is varied and interesting. Athletic scenes predominate, and, while many of these are unexceptional, some are tours de force; for example a cup (London, BM, E 94) on which one wrestler throws another in the ‘flying mare’ position. There are also vivid glimpses of athletes off the field, as on another cup (London, BM, E 83) where one athlete helps another wash his hair. Other cups show youths and warriors leaving home, and there are a few satyr scenes, notably one in which satyrs carrying a curious assortment of objects, including a heron, accost a youth on his way to a music lesson (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam, 2–1977). This scene may derive from a satyr play, but it also reflects Athenian street life. The Kodros Painter’s work also includes mythological episodes, some of which are traditional and heroic, such as the Kalydonian Boar Hunt (Berlin, Antikenmus., 25381) or the Symposion of the Gods (London, BM, E 82), while others are enlivened by idiosyncratic touches. On a cup in London (BM, E 84; see fig.), for example, the same six exploits of Theseus are represented around the tondo and on the outside, but the hero’s pose is reversed, so that when seen in front view inside he is in back view outside, a playful three-dimensional effect. Of especial interest are the Kodros Painter’s depictions of Attic mythology, for example the Birth of Erichthonios (Berlin, Antikenmus., 2537) and the complex, obscure myth of Telamon and Eriboia (Basle, Antikenmus., BS 432), as well as his name-piece, the Departure of Kodros. This emphasis on Athenian themes makes him a significant forerunner of such important late 5th-century bc artists as the Meidias Painter.

Kodros Painter (attrib.): Cup depicting Exploits of Theseus, h. 128 mm, diam. 330 mm, Attic Red-figure, c. 440–430 bc (London, British Museum); photo © The British Museum For more information:


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1268–72
  • E. Paribeni: ‘Pittore di Kodros’, Enciclopedia dell’arte antica, classica e orientale (Rome, 1958–73), vol.4, pp. 378–80
  • E. Berger: ‘Zur Deutung einer neuen Schale des Kodrosmalers’, Antike Kunst, vol.11 (1968), pp. 125–36
  • W. Real: Studien zur Entwicklung der Vasenmalerei im ausgehenden 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Münster, 1973)
  • L. Burn: ‘A Heron on the Left, by the Kodros Painter’, Proceedings of the Third Symposium on Ancient Greek and Related Pottery: Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 99–106
  • T. Seki: ‘London E 84: A Trick Cup?’, Proceedings of the Third Symposium on Ancient Greek and Related Pottery: Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 585–91
  • C. Weiss: ‘Fragment einer Schale aus dem Umkreis des Kodros-Malers’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.2 (1988) pp. 340–44
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases, the Classical Period (London, 1989), p. 98

Kuban Painter

  • Ian McPhee

(fl c. 410–c. 390 bc).

Greek vase painter. He decorated the three most important of a group of Panathenaic amphorae made in Athens, named the Kuban Group from the Kuban region in southern Russia, where the name-vase was found. All the vases are Black-figure amphorae, which, filled with olive oil, were awarded as prizes in the contests associated with the quadrennial Athenian festival, the Great Panathenaia. The nucleus of the Kuban Group consists of three amphorae (St Petersburg, Hermitage, 17553; London, BM, B605 and B606) all by one hand. On stylistic grounds Beazley associated with these a slightly earlier amphora (London, BM, 1903. 2-17.1) and two fragments (Thessaloniki, Archaeol. Mus., 34.352; Oxford, Ashmolean, 1966.935). He also related other fragments now in Oxford and Thessaloniki to the Kuban Group (Beazley, 1956, pp. 411–12). Further attributions to the Kuban Group have been made of vases and fragments from the Theban Kabeirion (Braun), the Athenian Agora (Moore and Philippides), the Kerameikos (J. Frel), Corinth (Brownlee), Praisos (Valavanis), and elsewhere; and in their recent studies Eschbach and Bentz have greatly increased the number of attributed works, to the extent that the Group has become stylistically amorphous. Bentz divides the Kuban Group into three sub-groups: the first perhaps connected with the Panathenaia of 406; the second would be connected with the festivals in 402 and 398 bc, and the third (in which for the first time the traditional cocks on the columns flanking Athena are replaced by a new device—Nikai) perhaps with 394 bc.

The Kuban Group amphorae have melon-shaped bodies and a heavy appearance. Of the four complete vases in Beazley’s list, three are of normal height (670–730 mm), but the slightly earlier amphora is smaller than usual (562 mm). The Kuban Painter decorated his three amphorae with a scheme that is normal for Panathenaic vases, with the reverse showing the contest for which the amphora was awarded, painted in the slick manner of the time. St Petersburg 17553 depicts the final moment of a boxing match, London B605 an akontist with another competitor and a judge, and London B606 a four-horse chariot at full speed. Most interesting is the picture on London 1903.2-17.1: two youths on horseback cast javelins at a shield fixed to a post. This is the earliest occurrence of an event, the quintain, which seems to have been added to the Panathenaia in the late 5th century bc. On all three vases attributed to the Kuban Painter the obverse represents the conventional image of Athena, armed with spear and shield and striding to the left, flanked by Doric columns surmounted by cocks. The cocks of the Kuban Painter are tall, emaciated birds. The figure of Athena is distinctly elongated, with a small head in relation to its height, and drawn in a somewhat archaizing style. The helm crest is outlined in red, and the garments are richly adorned with decorative patterns in added white and red with some incision including dot-rosettes, stars, waves, zigzags, lotus, and palmettes, and an olive wreath. The hem of the chiton is particularly elaborate: on London B606 it has a row of diminutive female dancers that have been connected with the ‘Lakonian Dancers’ group by the sculptor Kallimachos (Tiverios). The white blazons used by the Kuban Painter on Athena’s shield include a star design, and a famous Early Classical statue group, the Tyrannicides. The latter sculpture represented Harmodios and Aristogeiton, who slew Hipparchos at the Panathenaia in 514 bc, and it was set up in the Agora in 477/6 bc to serve as a symbol of liberty and democracy. This group was used as a shield-device not only on London B605 but also on two Panathenaic amphorae now in Hildesheim (Pelizaeus Mus., 1254 and 1253), and all three vases were presumably made in the same year, probably in 402 bc, after the Athenian democrats had overthrown the oligarchy of the Thirty and before the Great Panathenaia of 402 bc. In the same year the Ionic alphabet was officially adopted at Athens: it was employed for the traditional inscription on all three amphorae with the Tyrannicides shield-blazon. The Kuban Painter would surely have decorated Red-figure pots as well as Black-figure panathenaic amphorae; Karl Peters saw a connection with the Pronomos Painter, and he has been followed by Norbert Eschbach; Martin Robertson has also tentatively pointed to the Pronomos and Talos Painters.


  • K. Peters: Studien zu den panathenäischen Preisamphoren (Berlin, 1942)
  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Panathenaica’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.47 (1943), pp. 441–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956)
  • J. Frel: Panathenaic Prize Amphoras (Athens, 1973)
  • B. A. Sparkes: ‘Quintain and the Talcott Class’, Antike Kunst, vol.20 (1977), pp. 8–25
  • K. Braun and T. E. Haevernick: Bemalte Keramik und Glas (1981), vol.4 of Das Kabirenheiligtum bei Theben (Berlin, 1940–)
  • M. Tiverios: ‘Saltantes Lacaenae’, Archaiologiki ephimeris [Archaeological journal; prev. pubd as Ephimeris Archaiol.] (1981), pp. 25–37
  • N. Eschbach: Statuen auf panathenäischen Preisamphoren des 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. (Mainz, 1986)
  • M. B. Moore and M. Z. P. Philippides: Attic Black-figured Pottery (1986), vol.23 of The Athenian Agora (Princeton, 1953–)
  • P. D. Valavanis: ‘Säulen, Hähne, Niken und Archonten auf panathenäischen Preisamphoren’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.] (1987), pp. 467–80
  • P. D. Valavanis: ‘La proclamation des vainqueurs aux Panathénées. À propos d’amphores panathénaïques de Praisos’, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, vol.114 (1990), pp. 325–59
  • N. Eschbach: ‘Eine Preisamphora in Giessen und Überlegungen zur Kuban-Gruppe’, Jahrbuch des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts [prev. pubd as Jb. Ksr. Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.107 (1992), pp. 33–58
  • M. Robertson: The Art of Vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 260–61
  • A. B. Brownlee: ‘Attic Black Figure from Corinth: III’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (1995), pp. 338, 343, no. 151
  • M. Bentz: Panathenäische Preisamphoren (Basle, 1998)
  • R. Cromey: ‘Athena’s Panathenaic Episema and Democracy’s Return in 403’, Panathenaïka: Symposion zu den Panathenäischen Preisamphoren Rauischholzehausen 25.11.– 29.11.1998, pp. 91–100
  • N. Eschbach: ‘Rotfigurig ‒ Schwarzfigurig. Panathenäische Preisamphoren und Vasenmaler des späten 5. Und des frühen 4. Jhs. v. Chr.’, Panathenaïka: Symposion zu den Panathenäischen Preisamphoren Rauischholzehausen 25.11.– 29.11.1998, pp. 83–90
  • Search list for Greek Vases in the Beazley Archive (Artist Name: Kuban Group): [Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford]

Leagros group

  • Elizabeth Moignard

(fl c. 525–c. 500 bc).

Greek vase painters. The group is named after five hydriai with kalos inscriptions praising Leagros. Its artists formed the last major group of Athenian Black-figure painters of large vases; they generally favoured shapes with broad surfaces suiting their large-scale compositions. Thus, of more than 400 vases attributed to them, about half are large hydriai with flat shoulders, or neck amphorae, the remainder mainly being other amphorae and kraters, as well as lekythoi. Like most contemporary artists, the Leagros group painters framed their compositions on large vases with patterned borders. However, they abandoned the hitherto common animal frieze below the body pictures of hydriai, replacing it with palmettes framed in scrollwork or loops, an already established Red-figure pattern. Indeed they sometimes even replaced the ivy trails, which commonly flanked paintings on contemporary Black-figure hydriai, with palmettes.

Although Beazley identified some individual artists within the group, its members’ styles resemble each other so closely that further subdivision is difficult. The Painter of Louvre F314 appears to have specialized almost exclusively in stamnoi, while some Leagros group artists decorated other types of vases. The little that is known of the pot making of the Leagros group suggests that the vessels were made in the same workshop as pots of the Red-figure Pioneer group (see Phintias, Euphronios, and Euthymides). Leagros group work certainly shows the Pioneers’ influence. Thus, while Black-figure artists generally painted few figures, avoided overlap, used colour and surface pattern to improve definition and shunned complex poses and anatomical studies, the Leagros group broke all these conventions. Instead, they produced strikingly complex scenes, with overlapping figures distinguished by very bold, clear incision, in emulation of the Pioneers’ technical experiments. Leagros group painters also used little added colour, reflecting Red-figure practice, and minimal incised surface pattern. Their figures are large and take up almost the whole scene, while trees with trailing branches often fill the larger spaces producing a dark and crowded effect. The action sometimes overlaps its borders, occasionally with, presumably unintended, comic results, as when half a chariot emerges from the side of the picture. This tendency again reflects occasional Red-figure practice, particularly in the tondos of cups. Many of the group’s vases also show figures twisting or bending, with an attention to details of musculature that clearly echoes the Pioneers’ interest in anatomy and foreshortening. A favourite Leagran pose involves a head in profile, a frontal torso, and one leg frontal, one in profile.

The Leagros group’s subjects are generally mythological. The Adventures of Herakles and the Trojan cycle are the most frequent and often incorporate new features, such as the prominence given to the dying Eurytion in Herakles’ Battle with Geryon (on a hydria; London, BM, B310), or new episodes, such as Herakles’ Fight with Antaeus (e.g. on a belly amphora; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 1417), a subject also painted in Red-figure by Euphronios. The scenes from the Trojan cycle are strikingly brutal, for example on three hydriai showing Troilos Killed by Achilles (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 1700), the Sack of Troy and Murder of Priam, and the Sacrifice of Polyxena (Berlin, Pergamonmus., 1902). Bold depictions of established themes also occur, such as Ajax carrying Achilles’ body over his shoulder (on a hydria; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 1712). At the same time, a few vases reflect the growing interest in rendering everyday life apparent in Red-figure work: for example a rare scene of a potter’s workshop on a hydria, repeated scenes of departing warriors (e.g. on a hydria; London, BM, B314) and a cooking scene on an olpe (Berlin, Antikenmus., 1915). Some mythological scenes compress several episodes of a story; thus a hydria (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 63.473) merges the dragging of Hector’s body away from the walls of Troy, the dragging of Hector’s body around Patroklos’ tomb, and Iris summoning Priam to ransom Hector’s body. Similar complex iconographic presentations feature on many of the group’s most important vases.

The Leagros group’s significance lies mainly in its attempt to compete with the then established Red-figure medium by stretching Black-figure to its technical limits. Ironically, despite their many successes, these painters clearly demonstrated the limitations of Black-figure and so contributed to its demise.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Attic Black-figure: A Sketch’, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.14 (1928), pp. 26–8, 43–6, pl. 14
  • C. H. E. Haspels: Attic Black-figured Lekythoi (Paris, 1936), pp. 52, 59
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 54, 74–80, 81, 86; pls 84–7
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 354–91, 665, 695–6, 715, 716
  • E. T. Vermeule: ‘The Vengeance of Achilles’, Bulletin: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston [prev. pubd as Mus. F.A. Bull.; cont. as Boston Mus. Bull.], vol.63 (1965), pp. 35–52
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 161–72
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (London, 1974), pp. 110–11; figs 199–207
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 95ff


  • M. A. Tiverios

(fl c. 565–c. 535 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Athens, he was among the finest Black-figure vase painters, and more than 130 vases of various shapes and sizes are attributed to him, though only two are signed. One is a lebes from the Acropolis (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., no. 607), the other a Type B amphora (Paris, Louvre, F 29). On both vases the artist’s name has a definite article: ‘the Lydian’ was clearly his nickname, indicating some direct or indirect connection with Lydia. The inscription on the lebes further suggests that Lydos was a potter too. However, he also decorated vases for other potters, including Nikosthenes, Kolchos, Epitimos, and probably Amasis and Sotes. His style owed something to the workshop of the Ptoon Painter, to Kleitias and to the painter of Acropolis 606.

Lydos’ career coincided with the period when Attic vases had a virtual monopoly of international markets, and his works have been found as far afield as the Black Sea, Ampurias (Emporiae) in Spain, and Tamassos in Cyprus. Among the most important works of his first period, painted when the early Black-figure decorative tradition of bands of animals and monsters was still strong, are a hydria depicting Herakles and Geryon (Rome, Villa Giulia, M 430) and a Tyrrhenian amphora depicting the Judgement of Paris and Revellers at a Symposion (Florence, Mus. Archeol., 70995). Characteristic works of his second period, during which his individual painting style developed fully, are a kylix with the Deification of Herakles (Taranto, Mus. N., 20137), the signed lebes depicting a Gigantomachy, an amphora with the Pursuit of Troilos and the Sack of Troy (Berlin, Pergamonmus., 1685), a column krater with the Return of Hephaistos (New York, Met., 31.11.11.), a plate with the Arming of Achilles (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 507), and an amphora-psykter depicting Dionysos and his Followers and Theseus and the Minotaur (London, BM, B148). Towards the end of his career, when he had exhausted the possibilities offered by Black-figure, Lydos began to experiment with other forms of expression, such as the use of outline drawing, as on an important work from his late period, an oinochoe-psykter depicting Herakles and Kyknos (Berlin, Pergamonmus., 1732).

Lydos chose his subjects from both mythology and everyday life. Stories of Herakles, Dionysos and his followers, and the Trojan War were frequent themes in his work, while his characteristic everyday subjects were athletes, warriors, and erotic scenes. Movement and symmetry clearly attracted him, and, while his drawing was always precise, the restraint of his early works later gave way to exuberance. His human figures are distinguished by their clear outlines and correct proportions. However, his style of depicting animals and monsters is less easily attributable, since it was imitated by his two closest pupils, the Painter of Vatican 309 and the Painter of Louvre F 6.


  • A. Rumpf: Sakonides (Leipzig, 1937)
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 38–45
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 107–13, 684–5, 714
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 43–6
  • D. Callipolitis-Feytmans: Les Plats attiques à figures noires (Paris, 1974), pp. 87–110
  • M. A. Tiverios: O Lydos kai to ergo tou [Lydos and his oeuvre] (Athens, 1976)
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 29–33
  • H. A. Shapiro: ‘Herakles and Kyknos’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.88 (Oct 1984) pp. 523–9
  • J. R. Mertens: ‘Attributed to Lydos: Fragmentary Black-figure Column-krater’, Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol.66/2 (Fall 1998) p. 8
  • M. A. Tiverios: ‘Zur Geschichte einer Nikosthenischen Pyxis’, Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts: Athenische Abteilung, vol.115 (2000) pp. 73–81

Lysippides Painter

  • Beth Cohen

(fl c. 530–c. 510 bc).

Greek vase painter. An Attic Black-figure artist active during the transition from Black-figure to Red-figure, he is named after a kalos inscription on a neck amphora (London, BM, B 211) praising the youth Lysippides; some 30 vases, including amphorae, hydriae, and cups, are ascribed to him. His most discussed works are Black-figure paintings on seven bilingual vases: a cup bearing the potter Andokides’ signature and six amphorae, with Red-figure pictures attributed to the Andokides Painter, the probable inventor of the new Red-figure technique. The collaboration of two painters on the same vase was uncommon, so that some scholars believe that the Andokides Painter and the Lysippides Painter are the same artist. However, the conventional nature of the Black-figure paintings seems out of keeping for a brilliant innovator. Although he was the major follower of Exekias, the Lysippides Painter’s pictures are often derivative and not of the highest quality. His Exekian style was at first awkward (e.g. amphora, Rome, Villa Giulia, 24998), then refined (e.g. eye cup, Palermo, Mus. Reg., V 650), and finally sketchy and somewhat overblown (e.g. belly amphora, London, BM, B 193).

The Lysippides Painter was fond of horses and chariots (e.g. amphora, New York, Met., 58.32; hydria, Paris, Louvre, F 294) and favoured front views of the latter (e.g. neck amphorae, Oxford, Ashmolean, 208; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 1575). He employed interlocking hooks for horses’ hocks and knees, and curved lines and hooks for men’s kneecaps and ankles respectively. He depicted Herakles wrestling the Nemean lion (e.g. amphorae, Prégny, Baron E. de Rothschild, priv. col.; Bologna, Mus. Civ. Archeol., 151), fighting Kyknos (cup, Cambridge, Fitzwilliam, 37.12), with the boar (oinochoe, London, BM, B 492), playing the cythara (Rome, Villa Giulia, 24998; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 1575), in chariot scenes, and also fighting Geryon and the Amazons on his masterpiece, the largest extant Black-figure eye cup (London, BM, B 426). This has a chariot and horseman depicted inside, around a Dionysiac tondo.

Like the bilingual version in Palermo, the Lysippides Painter’s Black-figure eye cups (e.g. Brussels, Mus. Royaux A. and Hist., A3645; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2080) were probably produced in Andokides’ pottery. Indeed, the Lysippides Painter may be identifiable with Andokides, since the potter also followed Exekias. The bilingual amphorae must also have come from Andokides’ workshop. Some have the same subjects on both sides (e.g. Achilles and Ajax Playing, Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 01.8037; Herakles Banqueting, Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2301), while others feature different ones on either side (e.g. London, BM, B 193, with Achilles and Ajax in Black-figure and The Nemean Lion in Red-figure). In both cases the artist’s Black-figure painting is characteristically old-fashioned. Thus, on the bilingual amphora (Paris, Louvre, F 204) he depicted a standard Black-figure Dionysos accompanied by a maenad (possibly Ariadne) and satyrs, opposite the Andokides Painter’s unusual Herakles and Kerberos. His mature works are more complex, due to the inspiration of the Andokides Painter, and he even adapted the latter’s Kerberos scene for a late Black-figure amphora (Moscow, Pushkin Mus. F.A., 70), inserting his favourite god, Hermes. However, the drawing is finicky, the composition crowded, and the mood solemn, showing how far removed his literal, traditional nature was from the fresh sensibility of his Red-figure colleague.


  • R. Norton: ‘Andokides’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.11 (1896), pp. 1–41
  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Attic Black-figure: A Sketch’, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.14 (1928), pp. 24–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, p. 2
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 70–71, 85, 103
  • R. Lullies: ‘Eine Schale des Andokides-Malers in München’, Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft der Keramikfreunde, vol.1 (1953), pp. 15–20
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 254–65
  • H. Marwitz: ‘Zur Einheit des Andokidesmalers’, Jahreshefte des österreichischen archäologischen Institutes in Wien [cont. as Wien. Jhft.; reverts to Jhft. Österreich. Archäol. Inst. Wien], vol.46 (1961–3), pp. 73–104
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 113–16
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (London, 1974), p. 105
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 15–17
  • B. Cohen: Attic Bilingual Vases and Their Painters (New York, 1978), pp. 1–104
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 65–7
  • M. B. Moore: Attic Red-figured and White-ground Pottery, The Athenian Agora, vol.30 (Princeton, 1997), p. 83

Macmillan Painter [Chigi Painter]

  • Nicolas Coldstream

(fl c. 660–c. 640 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Corinth, he is named after the aryballos (see fig.) found there and presented by Malcolm Macmillan in 1889 to the British Museum. He is also known as the Chigi Painter after the Chigi Jug (Rome, Villa Giulia, 22679), which was exported to Veii in Etruria. He was a leading painter in the Proto-Corinthian style (see Greece, ancient, §V, 4, (ii)), specializing in the decoration of ovoid aryballoi (containers of perfumed oil). Despite the small size of these vessels (average h. 70 mm), there are several zones of surface decoration on the body, including an Orientalizing floral design on the shoulder, solid rays round the base, a main figured central zone, and one or more subsidiary figured friezes below. The main scene exploits to the utmost the newly devised Black-figure technique of incised silhouette, which allowed the overlapping of figures in closely knit compositions without any loss of clarity (see Greece, ancient, §V, 5). Often he varies the usual colour scheme by applying different shades of brown for human flesh and body armour, in addition to the purplish-red normally used for minor details.

Macmillan Painter (attrib.): Aryballos with lion-head mouth, Second Black-figure style, h. 68 mm, mpc, c. 640 bc (London, British Museum); photo © The British Museum For more information:

This painter’s aryballoi belong to the second half of the Middle Proto-Corinthian phase (mid-7th century bc), and the earliest examples bear mythical representations. On one vase, Berlin 2686 (Berlin, Antikenmus.), four centaurs collapse under a shower of arrows from Herakles’ bow. Another (Boston, Mus. F.A., 95.10) shows Bellerophon with Pegasus, flying through the air to assail the fire-breathing Chimaera. The paintings on both these vases are rendered with vigour and joie de vivre; their backgrounds are packed with varied filling ornaments, which on the painter’s more mature work are thinned out or omitted altogether. On later vases the scenes are confined to purely human conflict; tense battle scenes are wrapped round the main zones, with 18 hoplites (armed foot soldiers) on the Macmillan Aryballos and 21 on Berlin 3773 (Berlin, Antikenmus.); the warriors are equipped with the newly invented hoplite panoply. In both scenes, many different designs are emblazoned on the warriors’ overlapping shields, as they endeavour to keep their ranks.

On three aryballoi the decoration breaks into the third dimension. The mouth of the Macmillan aryballos is modelled as a lion’s head after the Neo-Hittite prototype: cubic, pug-like, and benign. Similarly, three human heads in the Daedalic sculptural style, with Orientalizing layered wigs, surmount an aryballos in Taranto (Mus. N., 4173). Both leonine and human heads are combined on Berlin 3773, for which a tiny rampant lion serves as the handle.

The Macmillan Painter’s latest work appears on a larger type of vessel, the olpe, the baggy, round-mouthed jug introduced in the Late Proto-Corinthian phase (c. 650–c. 640 bc). On the Chigi Vase, his finest work, the body carries two broad zones. Above, hoplite ranks are piped into battle by a child; the extraordinary realism of the drawing makes this scene an indispensable document for our understanding of early hoplite warfare. Below, several themes are juxtaposed: a sadly fragmentary scene of the Judgement of Paris, in which painted inscriptions name the figures; a double-bodied sphinx; a procession of horsemen, sometimes shown two abreast and distinguished by different colours; and a lion hunt in which the Assyrian type of lion, with heavy body, massive mane, and a muzzle more pointed than in the Neo-Hittite examples, makes its first appearance in Greek vase painting.

The painter’s subsidiary scenes are among his liveliest creations, showing him to be a virtuoso in miniature vase painting. Breaking away from conventional animal friezes, he specialized in horse races and hunts, brilliantly executed with a sense of rapid movement and an astonishing variety of detail, often in fields less than 10 mm high.


  • K. F. Johansen: Les Vases sicyoniennes (Paris, 1923), pp. 98–9
  • J. L. Benson: Die Geschichte der korinthischen Vasen (Basle, 1953), pp. 18–19
  • T. J. Dunbabin and C. M. Robertson: ‘Some Protocorinthian Vase-painters’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.48 (1953), pp. 179–80


  • Reinhard Stupperich

(fl early 5th century bc).

Greek vase painter. He has been ascribed over 350 vases, more than any other Athenian painter in the Red-figure technique. However, only one is certainly signed by him. Makron worked consistently with the potter Hieron, and of more than 30 signed works by Hieron almost all are painted by Makron. Most of the vessels are cups on tall stands, and the pictures inside these are always framed with a simple meander.

Like most vase painters, Makron may also have worked as a potter. Despite the large number of vases attributed to him, his work displays great unity. The kalos names correspond with those on later vases by Douris, suggesting that Makron worked prolifically over a short period, though a certain development can be perceived in his output.

Makron’s drawing is generally less fine than Douris’, but it developed rapidly, becoming richer and more decorative, more fluid and skilful, particularly in the representation of human proportions, especially in the case of women. A few pieces, mainly with mythological subjects, were thoughtfully composed and drawn in great detail. Typical features include heads with a flat skull-pan and deep eyebrows, and garments with carefully drawn and variably disposed drapery. There is sometimes a suggestion of fair hair in single locks, as well as rich figural decoration on clothing and other objects. Though Makron represented clothing with increasing virtuosity, the outlines of the body were always clearly stated—in the case of female figures in the transparently drawn chiton—forming the basis for the pictures. The composition of the tondi inside cups generally shows a unified conception and the outside decoration, made up of multi-figured friezes based on groups of two, has a balanced rhythm, with dancing and Dionysiac celebrations as frequent subjects. The outside and inside pictures are generally related thematically. Mythology does not feature largely in Makron’s work: his preferred subjects were sport, banquets, dancing, scenes of Dionysiac revelry or worship, and erotic scenes, of which there are a great many, primarily rows of courting couples, more often both male than of mixed sex. Among the mythological scenes, those involving the Trojans and their allies are prominent. Herakles also figures, as do Peleus and Thetis. Makron’s masterpieces include a cup with the Judgement of Paris (Berlin, Antikenmus.) and two exceptionally fine skyphoi, one showing Helen with Paris (and on the other side Helen with Menelaus), which carries the only unequivocal signature by Makron (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.), and the other showing Triptolemos among the Eleusinian Gods (London, BM). Of the non-mythological pieces, an aryballos depicting Children with Toy Chariots (Oxford, Ashmolean) deserves special mention.

Pupils of Makron in the second quarter of the 5th century bc probably included the Clinic Painter and the Telephos Painter. Their pictures are sometimes rather mannered, but they are more often humorous in effect than those of their teacher.


  • F. Leonard: Über einige Vasen aus der Werkstatt des Hieron (diss., U. Greifswald, 1912)
  • J. C. Hoppin: A Handbook of Attic Red-figured Vases, vol.2 (Cambridge, MA, 1919), pp. 38–110
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 458–82; vol.2, pp. 1654–5, 1706
  • L. D. Caskey and J. D. Beazley: Attic Vase Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, vol.3 (London, 1963), pp. 30–31
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 377–9
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), p. 140
  • G. Nachbaur: Schalen des Makron aus der Werkstatt des Hieron (diss., Graz, Karl-Franzens-U., 1978)
  • D. von Bothmer: ‘Notes on Makron’, The Eye of Greece, ed. J. Boardman and D. Kutz (Cambridge, 1982), pp. 13–26
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 243–7
  • M. Denouelles: ‘Macron au Louvre’, Revue du Louvre et des musées de France, vol.41 (1991), no. 5–6, pp. 13–26
  • N. Kunisch: Makron (Mainz, 1997)

Mannerist Workshop

  • Thomas Mannack

(5th century bc).

Greek vase painters. This group of over 15 Attic Red-figure vase painters, including the Pan Painter, worked throughout the 5th century bc, mainly decorating column kraters, hydriai, and pelikai. Their rather affected style is characterized by tall, slender figures with small heads, and by the perpetuation of Archaic features. The latter include stacked pleats and groups of folds in garments, hanging lotus-bud chains, and framed pictures on pelikai and the shoulders of hydriai, as well as subjects such as the Draped Apollo Playing a Lyre (e.g. on a column krater; Tarquinia, Pal. Vitelleschi, 684) and Ajax and Achilles Playing a Board Game (e.g. on a column krater; Berlin, Pergamonmus. 3199).

The group frequently depicted revels and symposia and, later, domestic scenes. Some of their mythological scenes are unparalleled in Athenian vase painting: for example the Madness of Salmoneus (Chicago, IL, A. Inst., 89.16) and the Death of Prokris (London, BM, E 477), both on column kraters. On a pelike (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., ex-Spinelli 2041) Io was depicted for the first time with a human body, under the influence of contemporary theatre.

The earliest members of the group, such as the Pig Painter and the Leningrad Painter, were taught by Myson; it was later influenced by, among others, the Niobid Painter and Polygnotos and his group, the Kleophon Painter and the Kadmos Painter. One artist’s signature survives, on an amphora (London, BM, E 284), revealing that a late group member, the Nausikaa Painter, was also called Polygnotos.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 562–88, vol.2, pp. 1106–25
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975)
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)
  • T. Mannack: The Late Mannerists in Athenian Vase-Painting (Oxford, 2001)

Marsyas Painter

  • A. Lebel

(fl mid-4th century bc).

Greek vase painter. He is among the better known of the Kerch style painters (see above) and a late but accomplished practitioner of Attic Red-figure. His tall, slender figures combine frontal with three-quarter views and other parts of the body in profile, giving an impression of three-dimensionality. This is illustrated by a pelike showing Peleus Abducting Thetis, which also includes a three-quarter back view of a naked nymph running into the background, creating a sense of depth that was new to vase painting at the time. He is named after the depiction on a pelike (St Petersburg, Hermitage, KEK 8) of Marsyas Awaiting his Fate. The characteristic crispness and plasticity of the drapery of the Marsyas Painter’s clothed figures may have been inspired by sculpture. Like many of his contemporaries he used white highlighting to emphasize certain figures and objects or to focus or balance his compositions. He also occasionally employed other colours, notably blue and red, to enhance clothing and erotes’ wings, with gold for jewellery, erotes’ wings, and any details in relief. His fine, precise drawing recalls works by such predecessors as the Jena Painter, and his stylistic innovations contributed to the final flowering of Attic Red-figure.


  • K. Schefold: Untersuchungen zu den Kertscher Vasen (Berlin, 1934), pp. 127–31
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1474–76
  • E. Simon: Die griechischen Vasen (Munich, 1976, 2/1981), pp. 157–60
  • A. Lebel: The Marsyas Painter and Some of his Contemporaries (diss., Oxford U., 1989)

Meidias Painter

  • Lucilla Burn

(fl c. 420–c. 400 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after the potter’s signature on a large Red-figure hydria (see fig.) and was one of the last great Athenian vase painters. His teacher was probably Aison (see above), but the style and subject-matter of his work suggest that he was also influenced by the older Kodros Painter and Eretria Painter. The Meidias Painter himself later attracted an important following, including Aristophanes, the Painter of the Carlsruhe Paris and the Painter of the Athens Wedding. Over 250 vases are attributed to the group. Some of these artists decorated large vases, especially hydriai, but most of them favoured smaller shapes, such as choes, pyxides, squat lekythoi, and lekanides. The Meidian style and its iconography have a distinctive extravagance (Beazley) and evoke a sensual, leisured, and luxurious world that is the visual counterpart to the poetry of the contemporary tragedian Agathon, represented in Plato’s Symposion as a master of the flowery phrase.

Attic Red-figure hydria by the Meidias Painter: Rape of the Leucippidae and Herakles in the Garden of the Hesperides, h. 525 mm, c. 420–400 BC (London, British Museum)

photo © The British Museum

Meidian compositions are densely packed with figures, mostly female, clustered into affectionate groups of two or three. They are generally ‘Polygnotan’ (see Polygnotos of Thasos) in having no single ground line. Instead, the figures are set at various levels and are occasionally only partly visible. White lines suggest irregularities in the terrain, while trees, shrubs, and scattered flowers contribute to the outdoor effect. The Meidias Painter himself was adept at using vase shapes and compositions that complemented each other. On his name-piece, for example, the outward-facing chariot teams of the Dioskouroi lead the eye towards the projecting handles, but the focus then moves back along the horses’ bodies to the central scene of the Dioskouroi and their brides, and on to Aphrodite, watching from below.

Meidian figures have distinctive faces. Noses are long and straight, eyes large, mouths small, chins heavy and rounded, and heads are often shown in three-quarter view. Women are slim and long-legged, men plump and effeminate. Both sexes have elegant hands and feet, with long, tapering fingers and toes. The women are always elaborately attired. Their often transparent, multi-pleated drapery clings tightly to the body or swirls away in exaggerated flourishes, and is sometimes decorated with stars, palmettes, or wave patterns. Hair styles vary: several types of richly patterned headdress occur, but the hair sometimes hangs loose in prolific curls and ringlets. Gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and hair ornaments are worn, while girdles are also tipped with gold.

The Meidias Painter and his associates worked during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 bc), yet their subjects were almost exclusively peaceful. Aphrodite was their favourite deity, occasionally accompanied by her consort Adonis, the dying god whose vegetation cult had recently been introduced to Athens. Thus, one of a fine pair of hydriai in Florence (Mus. Archeol., 81948) depicts Adonis lying back against Aphrodite’s knees, while the other (81947) depicts his mortal counterpart Phaon, the Lesbian ferryman on whom Aphrodite bestowed eternal youth and irresistible charm. On both vases, as often elsewhere, Aphrodite is attended by a retinue of personified abstractions in the form of Eunomia (Good Order), Eukleia (Good Repute), Eudaimonia (Happiness), and Eutychia (Good Fortune). Despite subsidiary political, religious, and philosophical connotations, the main function of these figures was probably to create an atmosphere of peace, harmony, and beauty, as a form of escapism from the horrors of war. Other favourite Meidian figures include the legendary musicians Mousaios and Thamyris, always attended by Muses and other women. They too occur in peaceful scenes, but even ostensibly violent subjects were generally transformed into gentle idylls. On the painter’s name-piece, the Rape of the Leukippidai was refined into a peaceful elopement. Similarly, Herakles is depicted not battling with the Hydra or with Geryon, but contemplating the beauty of his wife, Deianeira (on a pelike, New York, Met., 37.11.23), or, as on the name vase, sitting at ease in the Garden of the Hesperides, watched by an amiable serpent and plied with golden fruit by the nymphs. Such escapist scenes were often endowed with a specifically Athenian character by the inclusion of Athenian tribal heroes. For example Akamas, Oineus, Hippothoon, and Antiochos relax with Herakles in the Garden of the Hesperides, enjoying the sort of existence for which their descendants might happily have exchanged their wearisome lives. They embody the nostalgic mood of contemporary Athenian thought, as does another popular Meidian subject, the birth from the ground of Erichthonios.


  • H. Nicole: Meidias et le style fleuri (Paris, 1908)
  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Red-figured Vases in American Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1918), p. 185
  • W. Hahland: Vasen um Meidias (Berlin, 1930)
  • G. Becatti: Meidias: Un manierista antico (Florence, 1947)
  • W. Real: Studien zur Entwicklung der Vasenmalerei im ausgehenden 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Münster, 1973)
  • U. Knigge: ‘Aison, der Meidiasmaler? Zu einer rotfigurigen Oinochoe aus dem Kerameikos’, Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts: Athenische Abteilung, vol.90 (1975), pp. 123–43
  • L. Burn: The Meidias Painter (Oxford, 1987)
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases, the Classical Period (London, 1989), pp. 146–7
  • A. Schöne: Die Hydria des Meidias–Malers im Kerameikos. Zur Ikonographie der Bildfriese. AM 105 (1990), pp. 163–78


  • L. Berge

(fl first quarter of 5th century bc).

Greek vase painter. His name is given by the Greek inscription, ‘Myson painted and made [me]’, on a small Attic Red-figure column krater (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., Acropolis 806). His importance lies in his influence on his milieu and on the craft itself. He is best known for his picture of Kroisos on his Pyre on an amphora (Paris, Louvre, G 197). This and other early work show ambition and indicate an apprenticeship among the Pioneers. Crossing paths with the Eucharides Painter, the Göttingen Painter, and the Chairippos Painter, he then specialized in column kraters, the first in Athens to do so in quantity. Of some 90 vases attributed to him, most are column kraters, usually with a single figure on each side, a style made popular by his contemporary the Berlin Painter. Myson combined a certain grace with a heavy line; his style tightened, then grew flabby. Details in his later work often parallel work of much earlier artists. His preferred subjects were revellers, athletes, and Dionysiac scenes; the exceptions are often interesting or unusual. Myson taught the earliest members of the Mannerist Workshop, which was active for over 50 years.


  • E. Pottier: ‘Deux silènes démolissant un tertre funéraire’, Mnmt & Mém.: Fond. Piot, vol.29 (1927–8), pp. 149–92
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 237–44; vol.2, pp. 1592, 1638
  • A. B Follmann: Der Pan-Maler (Bonn, 1968), pp. 70–74 [relationship with Pan Painter]
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 349, 510
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975/R 1983), p. 112
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)
  • L. Berge: Myson: A Craftsman of Attic Red-figured Vases (Chicago, 1994)

Naukratis Painter

  • Maria Pipili

(fl c. 575–c. 550 bc).

Greek vase painter. Together with the Boreads Painter, he represents the ‘old generation’ in Lakonian Black-figure. His name vase, a cup from Naukratis, Egypt (London, BM, B 4), depicts a standing female figure holding a plant and surrounded by winged daemons. This has been interpreted as the nymph Kyrene but is more likely to be the vegetation deity Artemis Orthia. Such representations of single divine or daemonic figures, outside any narrative context, were favoured by the Naukratis Painter. Two cups attributed to him (Paris, Louvre, E 668; Taranto, Mus. N., IG 4988) show a seated Zeus with an eagle flying towards him, and a cup from Cerveteri (Mus. N. Cerite, 90287) depicts Poseidon Riding a Hippokampos. The interiors of other cups variously show a daemon (a sphinx, a Gorgon, a Boread, or Pegasos), and there are also some symposion scenes with winged daemons surrounding the diners (e.g. cup, Paris, Louvre, E667). The Naukratis Painter may have invented the characteristic high foot of the Lakonian cup, and he also worked on other shapes including lakainai, kraters, and hydriai. He was a good draughtsman and produced fine decorative friezes and rich floral patterns. From Corinthian vase painting he borrowed such designs as the animal frieze, which he used on both small and larger vases.

The Naukratis Painter had a strong influence on all the later important Lakonian vase painters, and his manner was also imitated by lesser followers until the end of the 6th century bc.


  • E. A. Lane: ‘Lakonian Vase-painting’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.34 (1933/4), pp. 139–40
  • B. B. Shefton: ‘Three Laconian Vase-painters’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.49 (1954), pp. 303–6
  • C. M. Stibbe: Lakonische Vasenmaler des sechsten Jahrhunderts v. Chr., 2 vols (Amsterdam and London, 1972), pp. 45–85, pls. 1–26


  • Heide Mommsen

(fl c. 560–c. 550 bc).

Greek vase painter and potter. His signature appears on seven Attic Black-figure pots and one clay plaque, once as potter and painter, otherwise, as far as preserved, only as potter. His significance as a potter is hard to assess because of the fragmentary state of his vases. His four early lip cups have exceptionally thin walls, while his two signed kantharoi dedicated on the Acropolis were unusually large (estimated h. 500 mm; Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., Acropolis 611, 612). Five of Nearchos’ signed works were painted by him, while the remaining three cups bear so little painting that this cannot be attributed. Finally, fragments of a further kantharos have been ascribed to Nearchos on stylistic grounds.

Nearchos’ fame as a true artist is based mainly on the fragments of the only vase he signed as painter: a kantharos showing Achilles with his Chariot (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., Acropolis 611 and AP 67). This painting does not illustrate any specific scene from the Iliad. Instead, Nearchos created his own image of the hero setting out for battle by linking two complementary scenes that otherwise only occur separately: the Nereids Bringing Achilles’ Weapons and the Harnessing of Achilles’ Chariot. The names of the horses and of the charioteer are not those traditionally associated with Achilles. Nonetheless, the depiction of the hero gently fitting a bridle on one of his steeds suggests the intimate relationship between Achilles and Xanthos, the divine horse who foretold his death (Iliad, XIX.400–24). Achilles’ attitude of calm dignity and the scene’s general evocation of solemnity point forward to the art of Exekias.

Nearchos (attrib.): Aryballos depicting comic imagery, h. 78 mm, c. 570 BC (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, The Cesnola Collection, by exchange, 1926, Accession ID: 26.49)

image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, photographed by Schecter Lee

The pictures on Nearchos’ kantharoi are painted in the Black-figure technique, but are unusually colourful and give some idea of the lost wall paintings of the period: one of the horses is completely red, another white with black outlines, while the tongue pattern above the pictures is painted on a white ground. Nearchos was the first Attic artist to depict the harnessing of a chariot team, a theme that became highly popular in the second half of the 6th century bc, and he was also the first to represent Herakles and Atlas (inside a cup; Berne, priv. col.). In addition, he signed a remarkable aryballos (New York, Met., 26.49; see fig.) with delicate comic pictures around the mouth and on the handle which show his talent as a miniaturist. Nearchos’ two sons Tleson and Ergoteles were also miniaturists, and, since both their signatures included their father’s name, Nearchos may have remained in charge of their workshop in his old age. This conjecture is supported by Nearchos’ dedication of a marble statue by the well-known sculptor Antenor on the Acropolis at a time (c. 520 bc) when he can no longer have been active as a painter or potter. At any rate the dedication testifies to the continuing commercial success of the pottery workshop.


  • G. M. A. Richter: ‘An Aryballos by Nearchos’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.36 (1932), pp. 272–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 37–8
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 82–3, 347, 682
  • D. von Bothmer: ‘Five Attic Black-figure Lip-cups’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.46 (1962), pp. 255–8
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 30–31, 70, 523
  • H. Jucker: ‘Herakles und Atlas auf einer Schale des Nearchos in Bern’, Festschrift für Frank Brommer (Mainz, 1977), pp. 191–9
  • I. Scheibler: ‘Griechische Künstlervotive der archaischen Zeit’, Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, vol.30 (1979), pp. 9–10
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), p. 23

Nettos Painter

(fl c. 620–c. 600 bc).

Greek vase painter. The Nettos Painter is named from the Attic spelling of the Centaur Nessos, who is depicted in the episode of Herakles Slaying Nessos on the neck of the splendid Attic Black-figure neck amphora, the artist’s masterpiece. He is the earliest Attic Black-figure vase painter to have left sufficient vases (about 30) for it to be possible to chart his chronology and to establish his artistic personality. Most of these vases were found in Attica, where they served as grave markers or tomb furnishings. Four vases formerly ascribed to the Chimaera Painter were recognized by Beazley as examples of his early work.

The Nettos Painter preferred to decorate large shapes, chiefly amphorae and skyphos–kraters, though he also painted some lekanides and a plaque. The best examples of his large-scale work are his name piece, three skyphos–kraters from the cemetery at Vari (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 16382, 16383, 16384), a fragmentary amphora (Aigina, Archaeol. Mus., 585) and two well-preserved amphorae (Athens, Agora Mus., P 1247, and Eleusis Mus., Z 21). The lekanides from Vari (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 16363–16369, 16414 and 16416e) offer good examples of his smaller paintings.

Early works by the Nettos Painter generally depict single figures occupying most of the available surface (e.g. the sphinx on Eleusis Mus., Z 21) or, more often, pairs of animals, such as the sphinxes on the stand of Athens 16382 or the two felines attacking a bull depicted on its bowl. (This theme has a long history in both sculpture and painting.) Similarly, a skyphos–krater (Athens, Kerameikos Mus., 154) presents a powerful version of the confrontation between Bellerophon and the Chimaira, and an amphora (Athens, Agora Mus., P 1247) shows a sphinx on each side, probably intended as guardians of a tomb since the vase is weathered and probably stood out of doors for quite a while. A skyphos–krater of his middle phase (Athens 16383) has a vivid scene of a galloping cavalcade, and this is also the time when his sequence of lekanides begins. He decorated these smallish bowls with friezes of animals, a scheme inherited from Corinth. His louterion (Berlin, Pergamonmus., 1682; destr. during World War II, see Beazley, 1971) may have been of a later date. It was decorated with two panels. One depicted Harpies, the other Perseus, and the figures were labelled, as are those of Herakles and Nessos on the artist’s namepiece, where Herakles is shown killing Nessos, who had tried to ravish his wife, Deianeira, while carrying her across the River Evenus. The stumbling centaur raises both hands in supplication, and his long, shaggy beard and coarse features contrast sharply with the trim moustache and refined features of Herakles. This deliberate contrast between man and monster later became a frequent theme in Attic vase painting. On the body of the vase, Medusa’s two sisters fly over a ‘sea’ of wave-like spirals surmounted by a frieze of leaping dolphins. On the viewer’s far left Medusa sinks down on one knee, blood spilling from her severed neck. Perseus himself is omitted, but his presence is clearly felt. Equally ambitious is the scene on a skyphos–krater (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 16384) of Herakles Freeing Prometheus from the Eagle. Prometheus is shown still fettered, while Herakles, who has already wounded the bird in the neck, is drawing his bow and aiming another arrow. On the stand of the same vase a dignified procession of four women depicts a quieter moment from this artist’s repertory. Each woman is holding a palmette, and a Doric column, perhaps representing a temple, flanks the scene at each side. This is the first appearance in Attic Black-figure of an architectural element. Equally dignified is the lyre player on the fragmentary plaque (Athens, Agora Mus., A–P 1085).

The Nettos Painter’s flexibility makes him one of the masters of Attic Black-figure. He preferred large vessels that let his figures extend unrestrained over their surfaces, but he was also adept at painting smaller vessels with figural friezes framed above and below by ornamental bands. He also produced some unforgettable mythological scenes, including those on Athens, National Archaeological Museum, 1002 and 16384, and Kerameikos Museum, 154. His drawing style is for the most part expansive and bold, with sure and competent incision, and the black glaze is often enlivened by skilful application of additional white or red. He was the first Attic painter to master the Black-figure technique and to break completely with Proto-Attic style, thus opening the way for later painters.


  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 13–15
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 4–6, 679
  • A. Boegehold: ‘The Nessos Amphora: A Note on the Inscription’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.46 (1962), pp. 405–6
  • S. Karouzou: Angeia tou Anagyrountou [Pots from Anagyrous] (Athens, 1963)
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 1–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Addenda (1989), pp. 1–2
  • L. Palaiokrassa: ‘Ein neues Gefass des Nessos-Malers’, Jahrbuch des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts [prev. pubd as Jb. Ksr. Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.109 (1994) pp. 1–10

Nikias Painter

  • Lucilla Burn

(fl c. 420–c. 400 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Athens, he was a contemporary of the Meidias Painter (see above) and is named after the potter Nikias, who signed one of his bell kraters (London, BM, 1898.7-16.6). There are 37 vases or fragments attributed to him, primarily bell kraters but also some hydriai and oinochoai and one rhyton. He frequently depicted athletes, revellers, symposia, and sacrifice scenes; the reverse sides of his bell kraters almost always bear the same three draped youths. Among his more unusual themes are Leda and the Egg, armed runners casting lots at a statue of Athena, and two scenes with crouching dancers. His hydriai carry typical Meidian subjects: two show the Judgement of Paris, while three others depict brides accompanied by divinities and women. The artist’s name vase shows the end of a torch-race, with Nike flying up to the winning runner with the sash of victory; a wreathed old man leaning on a staff stands behind the altar. This may be the god or hero, perhaps Prometheus, in whose honour the race was run; the inscription on the wreath of the victor identifies him as the tribal hero Antiochos. The scene seems to represent simultaneously both mythical and contemporary torch races. The Nikias Painter’s style is casual rather than precise: the facial features recall works by Aison and the Meidias Painter, but the musculature is sketchy; the drapery, though fussy and elaborate, bears very little correspondence to either the forms or the movements of the limbs beneath it.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1333–5
  • W. Johannowsky: ‘Due vasi del Pittore di Nicia al Museo Nazionale di Napoli’, Bollettino d’arte [cont. as Arti: Rass. Bimest. A. Ant. & Mod.; Boll. A.], n. s. 3, vol.45 (1960), pp. 202–12
  • W. Real: Studien zur Entwicklung der Vasenmalerei im ausgehenden 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr. (Münster, 1973), pp. 37–40
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases, the Classical Period (London, 1989), pp. 167–8
  • M. B. Moore: ‘“Nikias made me”: An Early Panathenaic Prize Amphora in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’, Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol.34 (1999) pp. 37–56

Niobid Painter

  • Mathias Prange

(fl c. 470–c. 445 bc).

Greek vase painter and potter. He is named after a scene on an Attic calyx krater depicting the Killing of the Niobids (Paris, Louvre, G 341; see fig.), and some 130 vases and fragments have been attributed to him. He was trained in the workshop of the Berlin Painter, but c. 470 bc he set up his own workshop along with the Altamura Painter and the Blenheim Painter. This specialized in producing large vases and was subsequently taken over by his pupil Polygnotos.

Attic Red-figure kalyx krater by the Niobid Painter: Apollo and Artemis Slaying the Niobids, c. 460–c. 450 BC (Paris, Musée du Louvre)

photo credit: Giraudon/Art Resource, NY

The Niobid Painter’s work reflects the transition from the Archaic style of Red-figure vase painting to the Classical style. His early compositions, figures, and drapery were stiff and simple (e.g. lekanis, Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., 2638). Subsequently, however, his compositions became more complex, his figures began to interact, and his drapery became softer and more substantial with increasingly sharply differentiated details, culminating around 450 bc in works such as his name vase. His draughtsmanship was always careful and assured. His figures are tall and slender and have broad heads with idealized profiles and clearly differentiated features. Their ears are elongated and their eyes wide open and surmounted by a long flat brow, while the eye socket is suggested by a second line on the upper eyelid. The mouths have downturned corners and full bottom lips, while the chins are heavy and prominent. The men’s bodies are muscular and their garments substantial.

The Niobid Painter followed the Berlin Painter’s tastes in vase shapes and ornament. Thus he favoured kraters, neck amphorae, hydriai, and pelikai, generally decorating them with an edging consisting of a meander interrupted by crosses in squares, with a band of lotus palmettes round the mouth and lyre palmettes and palmette trees near the handles (see fig.). The ornament is distinguished by its varied and meticulously drawn tendrils and leaves.

Niobid Painter (attrib.): Kalyx krater depicting (top) Gods Creating Pandora and (bottom) a Pan/Satyr Chorus, Red-figure, h. 495 mm, c. 460–450 BC (London, British Museum)

photo © The British Museum

The Niobid Painter’s commonest scenes are of lovers pursuing each other, sacrifices, the Departure of Triptolemos, and great battles involving Amazons, centaurs, giants, or Trojans. The depictions of sacrifices generally consist of three figures, and are skilfully composed to suggest the emotional bonds between them and give a sense of timeless universality. The artist also seems to have been intent on glorifying Athens. Thus he preferred the Athenian hero Theseus to the more generally Greek hero Herakles and drew inspiration from Athens’ role in the recent Persian wars, while using Triptolemos, originally an Eleusinian hero, to embody Athens’ claim to be the cultural and political centre of Greece.

Many scenes by the Niobid Painter and his followers may reflect lost wall paintings by Polygnotos of Thasos or Mikon. The most famous (on his name vase, on the opposite side to the Killing of the Niobids) was originally thought to depict the Argonauts but probably represents the gathering of the Athenian heroes before the Battle of Marathon (490 bc). In it the artist abandoned the single ground line usual in vase painting to create an illusion of depth. However, while this device was almost certainly borrowed from murals, the style of painting was adapted to suit the smaller field provided by the vases.


  • T. B. L. Webster: Der Niobidenmaler (Leipzig, 1935)
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 598–608
  • E. Simon: ‘Polygnotan Painting and the Niobid Painter’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.67 (1963), pp. 43–62
  • P. E. Arias: ‘Problemi stilistici, iconologici e cronologici sul Pittore dei Niobidi’, Atti della Pontificia accademia romana di archeologia, vols53–54 (1984), pp. 145–79
  • S. Bonomi: ‘Una nuova pelike del Pittore dei Niobidi’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.] (1985), pp. 29–47
  • T. J. McNiven: ‘Odysseus on the Niobid Krater’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.109 (1989) pp. 191–8
  • M. Prange: Der Niobidenmaler und seine Werkstatt (Frankfurt am Main, 1991)
  • E. D. Reeder: ‘The Niobid Painter in Baltimore’, Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, vols52–53 (1994–5) pp. 113–15
  • M. Denoyelle: Le cratère des Niobides (Paris, 1997)


  • Beth Cohen

(fl c. 525–c. 500 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was an important early Athenian Red-figure artist. He apparently trained in the workshop of Nikosthenes and initially specialized in bilingual eye cups, decorating more extant specimens than any other artist. Indeed, most of his over 150 surviving works are cups, including the two potted by Euxitheos that bear Oltos’ painter-signature (Berlin, Staatliche Mus. Antikensammlung, 2269; Tarquinia, Pal. Vitelleschi, RC 6848). He was particularly influenced by the earliest Red-figure artists, the Andokides Painter and Psiax, while his Black-figure output recalls Psiax in motif and the Antimenes Painter in style. Oltos employed Black-figure exclusively for scenes on eye-cup tondos, such as the Running Dionysos Carrying a Rhyton and Vine (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus. 498) or the Spear-bearing Trumpeters (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 46; Bryn Mawr Coll., PA, Riegal Mem. Mus.), using fine incision and substantial added red. Between the large eyes on the cups’ exteriors he painted Red-figure trumpeters, warriors, athletes, women, beasts, plants, or inanimate objects. The genre suited his forthright, repetitive style.

Oltos’ characteristic kalos inscriptions praising Memnon first appeared on the hastily painted bilingual vases and Red-figure palmette-eye cups of his middle period. The various potters’ signatures on his works (e.g. Nikosthenes, Pamphaios, Chelis, Kachrylion, and Euxitheos) attest to the late Archaic painter’s mobility between workshops. The mature Oltos learnt much from the younger artist Euphronios, whom he surely met at the potteries of Kachrylion and Euxitheos. Thus, his stately Assembly of Gods on the exterior of a Red-figure cup (Tarquinia, Pal. Vitelleschi, RC 6848) rivals works of the Pioneer group in its intricately detailed composition and sure draughtsmanship. Oltos, however, always remained more interested in elegant decoration than in naturalism. Contact with the Pioneers may also explain why his masterpieces occur on unusual or innovative shapes. Thus, he painted special Red-figure Nikosthenic amphorae (Paris, Louvre, G 2, G 3) and a special Red-figure stamnos (London, BM, E 437) potted by Pamphaios, placing Red-figure palmettes at the handles of both, as he generally did on his Red-figure cups.

Oltos (attrib.): Psykter depicting hoplites riding dolphins, terracotta, H. 11 7/8 in. (30.20 cm), Attic Red-figure, ca. 520–510 BC (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989, Accession ID:1989.281.69)

The pictures on his two psykters (wine coolers) typify his style and personality with their deceptively simple figures drawn with a supple relief line over the vessels’ sharply curving surfaces. Athletes and their trainers encircle one (New York, Met., 10.20.18; see fig.): as usual, the figures have downturned lips, hands in affected gestures, and long feet, and are drawn in profile but without great anatomical detail. On the other (New York, Met., 1989.281.69) the frieze of singing warriors mounted on dolphins is a clever creation for a vessel designed to float within a krater. Oltos was an energetic and enterprising painter whose long career extended from the early development of Red-figure to the experiments of the Pioneers.


  • F. P. Johnson: ‘Oltos and Euphronios’, Art Bulletin, vol.19 (1937), pp. 537–60
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 53–67, vol.2, pp. 1622–3, 1700
  • A. Bruhn: Oltos and Early Red-figure Vase Painting (Copenhagen, 1943)
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960): Eng. trans. and rev. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 320–22
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 326–8
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 56–7
  • B. Cohen: Attic Bilingual Vases and Their Painters (New York, 1978), pp. 322–99
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 162–6
  • G. Ferrari: ‘Eye-cup’, Revue archéologique, vol.1 (1986) pp. 5–20
  • J. Harnecker: Oltos, Untersuchungen zu Themenwahl und Stil eines frührotfigurigen Schalenmalers, Europäische Hochschulschriften, Reihe XXXVIII, Archäologie, vol.18, (Frankfurt am Main, 1992)
  • M. Robertson: The art of vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 16–18, 20–23, 33–34, 38
  • S. Klinger: ‘The Sources of Oltos’ Design on the One-piece Amphora London E 2588’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.] (1993), pp. 183–200
  • P. J. Connor: ‘A Leaper, a Rivet, and Graffiti on a Bilingual Eye-cup of the Early Red-figure Period’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.], vol.3 (1996) pp. 363–70
  • M. B. Moore: Attic Red-figured and White-ground Pottery, The Athenian Agora, vol.3 (Princeton, 1997), pp. 84, 87–8, 316


  • Diana Buitron-Oliver

(fl c. 505–c. 480 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Athens, he specialized in decorating cups, mostly of Type B, and his work evinces a lively, energetic personality. His name is known from the signature on a cup (Paris, Louvre, G 105) also signed by Euphronios as potter. At least 10 other cups painted by him bear Euphronios’ signature, and others have been attributed on the basis of the potting style.

Onesimos worked in steady collaboration with Euphronios, who also profoundly influenced his drawing style. His preferred kalos name was ‘Panaitios’, which led to his also being called the Panaitios Painter, sometimes identified as a different and earlier artist. J. D. Beazley listed vases attributed to the Panaitios Painter (Beazley, 1942), but these are all now usually considered the work of Onesimos. In addition, some of the vases attributed by Beazley to the Eleusis Painter or Proto-Panaetian Group probably represent Onesimos’ earliest work. Besides the kalos inscription ‘Panaitios’, Onesimos frequently praised Athenodotos and, less often, Leagros on his early cups. Later, the names Erothemis, Boukolos, Lykos, and Aristarchos occur: the first two are unique to Onesimos, the second two also occur on the vases of his pupil the Antiphon Painter. Onesimos’ early work is marked by large tondi with big, boldly drawn figures in complex action poses, often with frontal limbs or heads, for example the satyr in the tondo of a cup (10.179) in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. Satyrs and maenads occur especially often in his early work, as do themes drawn from the legends of Troy, Theseus, or Medea, for which Onesimos invented new and unusual compositions, often filling his tondi with figures, as on a kylix depicting Theseus visiting Amphitrite accompanied by Athena and a small triton (Paris, Louvre, G 104).

With his associates in Euphronios’ workshop, the Brygos Painter, Douris and the Antiphon Painter, Onesimos experimented with less familiar techniques, such as White-ground or coral-red. He sometimes used White-ground for the entire interior of a cup, as on early fragments from Eleusis (Eleusis Mus., 518 and 519), or, unusually, only in the zone around the tondo. He also painted a Red-figure zoned cup with a Gigantomachy surrounding the picture of Selene in the tondo (Athens, First Ephoria Store). Among the ornamental motifs he employed were a variety of meander types. He came to prefer the stopt meander as a border for tondi, and one or two reserved lines for the ground-line on the exterior. Though he specialized in cups, Onesimos also decorated a few small vases, an alabastron, and several kyathoi.

In his mature work Onesimos turned from mythological subjects to those taken from daily life. Scenes involving athletes, lovers, or party guests gave scope for his mastery of foreshortening and zest for lively action with twisting back views and various unsavoury poses. He noted realistic details, such as hairy male bodies, receding hairlines, or sagging female breasts. He also painted genre scenes, for example a school scene, a fisher boy, a boy reading, or a black groom. Several of these cups carry inscriptions. Some have ‘spoken’ inscriptions, such as the lovers in the tondo of a cup in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (65.873). Onesimos’ later work is distinguished by smaller, more graceful figures with quieter, almost introspective attitudes. He was one of the most forceful representatives of the generation of vase painters that followed the Pioneer Group, continuing their experiments in the representation of the human body. He had a discernible influence on his contemporaries, and his style was carried on by several pupils, including the Brygos Painter.


  • J. D. Beazley: Attic Red-figured Vases in American Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1918), pp. 14–18
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 313–30; vol.2, pp. 1645–6, 1701, 1706
  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Some Fragments by the Panaitios Painter’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.66 (1962), pp. 235–6
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 358–61, 511
  • D. Williams: ‘The Ilioupersis Cup in Berlin and the Vatican’, Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, vol.18 (1976), pp. 9–23
  • M. Ohly-Dumm: ‘Medeas Widderzauber auf einer Schale aus der Werkstatt des Euphronios’, J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol.9 (1981), pp. 5–21
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 166–9
  • I. Wehgartner: Attisch weissgrundige Keramik (Mainz, 1983), pp. 81–4
  • R. J. Blatter: ‘Tod und Schlaf: Zu einem Fragment des Onesimos’, Antike Welt, vol.16/2 (1985), pp. 55–6
  • B. A. Sparkes: ‘Aspects of Onesimos’, Greek Art: Archaic into Classical, ed. C. Boulter (Leiden, 1985), pp. 18–39
  • H. R. Immerwahr: Attic Script (Oxford, 1990), pp. 84–5
  • M. Robertson: The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 43–51
  • M. J. Anderson: ‘Onesimos and the Interpretation of Ilioupersis Iconography’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.115 (1995), pp. 130–35

Pan Painter

  • Thomas Mannack

(fl c. 480–c. 450 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Attica, he was associated with the Mannerist Workshop and named by Beazley after the picture on the obverse of a Red-figure bell krater (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 10.185) showing Pan in Pursuit of a Young Goatherd. More than 160 vases have been attributed to him, one of the earliest being a psykter in Munich (Staatl. Antikensamml., 2417), usually thought to date from the 480s bc, although dates as late as 460 bc have been suggested. The end of his career is represented by a bell krater (Palermo, Mus. Reg., V778) and some other vases with less generous use of relief lines.

The Pan Painter’s drawing style is distinctive. The heads of his figures are round, with rounded and heavy chins and thick necks in which the musculature is sometimes indicated by one or two brown lines. White hair is usually indicated by reserved areas. His rendering of male anatomy relates to that of Myson, with two divisions of the abdominal muscles rather than the usual three. The arms are strong, with upper muscles sometimes shown by brown-glaze opposed semicircles and lower ones by a brown-glaze line running diagonally from the inside of the elbow to the wrist. Frontal feet are common, occasionally with more than five toes, which are drawn as small arcs. Boots, elegant high leather shoes, and sandals strapped to the calves also occur often, as on works by the Mannerists, the Niobid Painter, and others. Rocks, sometimes covered with a yellow wash and with stylized cracks, are another distinctive feature. Garments fall in straight folds, frequently grouped in fours, and stacked pleats. The chiton often forms a bolster either side of the waist when belted.

Some of the Pan Painter’s compositions are outstanding. On a pelike (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 9683) Herakles is shown holding an Egyptian by his feet, with a group of two other Egyptians forming a dynamic triangular composition around a centrally placed altar. The range of vase shapes is exceptionally wide, including cups; hydriai; oinochoai; loutrophoroi; both neck and belly amphorae; bell, calyx, and volute kraters; lebetes; stamnoi; alabastra; a kantharos; and a psykter. His favoured shapes, however, appear to have been lekythoi, including two White-ground examples, column kraters, pelikai, and Nolan amphorae, nearly all with triple handles. With the exception of those on two of his pelikai, his pictures, even on large vases, are unframed. Eight small pelikai seem to come from the same potter’s workshop, and most of these have a distinctive pattern of ovolos with blackened centres on the neck. The Pan Painter’s patterns are usually simple: keys or broken stopt meanders in pairs or threes, alternating with saltires, sometimes with dots, or crosses in squares.

The Pan Painter’s subjects are equally varied, including gods, heroes, and scenes of daily life, often with unusual touches. The psykter in Munich shows Apollo Fighting Idas for the Love of Marpessa, a subject also depicted by the Triptolemos Painter, with whose workshop he seems to have had connections. Two vases depict Artemis Turning Actaeon’s Dogs against their Master. On the earlier, a volute krater (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., Akr. 760) the scene alludes conventionally to Actaeon’s metamorphosis into a deer by dressing him in a deerskin, but on the reverse of the later vase (the artist’s name-piece; see above) no transformation is suggested. Two paintings depict scenes from the Iliad, with Achilles Slaying Penthesilea on a calyx krater (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam, GR 3.1971), and the Ransom of Hector on a stamnos (Paris, Louvre, C108221). The former also shows Herakles with Syleus, and two vases depict Herakles Killing the Egyptian King Busiris (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 9683; Leipzig, Karl-Marx-U. [now U. Leipzig], Archäol. Inst., T651). On the vase in Athens, a pelike, the detail is remarkable. The Egyptians, who have negroid features, are correctly shown as being circumcised. The altar is adorned with mouldings, palmettes, and volutes. A rare depiction of the Infant Herakles Killing the Snakes in his Cradle (a cup; Leipzig, Karl-Marx-U. [now U. Leipzig], Archäol. Inst., T3365) is also by the Pan Painter. Theseus Fighting the Minotaur occurs on a skyphos (New York, Met., X.22.25 (GR85)), and both this and the Infant Herakles were subjects popular with the other Mannerists. So too were the Death of Kaineus (column krater; London, BM, E473), Triptolemos Bringing Man the Gift of Corn (pelike; Ferrara, Mus. N. Archeol., 83(42)) and Perseus and Medusa (hydria; London, BM, E181). Scenes of daily life include sacrifices and musical and domestic scenes, and often depict herms.

The Pan Painter was possibly a pupil of Myson (Beazley, 1963), but some scholars consider his teacher to have been a colleague of Peithinos and the Sosias Painter (Follmann) or the Berlin Painter (Sourvinou-Inwood). There are certainly connections between the works of the Berlin Painter and the Pan Painter, since the former decorated an equally wide range of shapes, but also favoured lekythoi and Nolan amphorae. His preference for single, grand figures can be paralleled in the Pan Painter’s work, as can his choice of ornament. The Pan Painter’s treatment of male anatomy does, however, suggest that Myson taught him and that he was only later influenced by the Berlin Painter. Myson was the founder of a Mannerist workshop that lasted to the end of the 5th century bc, but, while the Pan Painter can be classed as a Mannerist, he differed from the others in quality and character, and his style is in fact ‘subarchaic’ (Beazley, 1944): both his early and later vases tend to be more elaborately decorated, while the figures are more slender, posing rather than acting, and the drapery shows decorative rather than realistic treatment.

No pupils of the Pan Painter are known, though his influence has been noted in the scenes of revellers by the Cleveland Painter, the Alkimachos Painter, and the earlier Mannerists. There is no known example of the Pan Painter’s signature. The word kalos (Gr.: ‘beautiful’) occurs on two of his vases, though without the customary named youth, while a vase from his circle praises Hippon.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘The Master of the Boston Pan-Krater’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.32 (1912), pp. 354–69
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 550–61
  • J. D. Beazley: The Pan Painter (Oxford, 1944)
  • A. B. Follmann: Der Pan-Maler (diss., U. Bonn, 1968)
  • C. Sourvinou-Inwood: ‘Who Was the Teacher of the Pan Painter?’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.95 (1975), pp. 107–21
  • M. Robertson: ‘Two Pelikai by the Pan Painter’, Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vol.3 (Malibu, CA, 1986), pp. 71–90

Paseas [Cerberus Painter]

  • Beth Cohen

(fl c. 520–c. 510 bc).

Greek vase painter. Formerly called the Cerberus Painter (after a plate, Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 01.8025, showing Herakles Leading Kerberos), he was a minor Athenian Red-figure painter, primarily of plates and small vases (e.g. cups, an alabastron, and a standlet); he also decorated several votive plaques of Athena (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., Acropolis 2583–5, 2587–9, 2591) in Black-figure on white ground. On some, flesh is emphasized by outline as well as a second white, while one preserves his unique signature: ‘one of the paintings of Paseas’.

Paseas’ energetic figures, with over-large heads and simple bodies, derive from the Andokides Painter, but also recall Oltos and the Pioneers: in several techniques his skill recalls Psiax. He commonly reserved hair borders and used red inscriptions, yet his style remained naively old-fashioned. His subjects include Theseus (Paris, Louvre, G 67), Dionysos (New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G., 170), and male athletes (U. Amsterdam, Pierson Sticht., 2474; London, BM, E 138), all on plates; female dancers on a standlet (London, BM, E 809); and charming erotica such as a woman with phallus bird on a chalcicup (Rome, Villa Giulia; Heidelberg, Ruprecht-Karls-U., 20). A plate depicting an Archer on Horseback (Oxford, Ashmolean, 310) carries a kalos inscription praising Miltiades, while Paseas’ masterpieces, the Kerberos scene and a touching Rape of Kassandra (New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G., 169), are also on plates.


  • C. Roebuck: ‘White-ground Plaques by the Cerberus Painter’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.43 (1939), pp. 467–73
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 163–4, vol.2, p. 1630
  • J. Boardman: ‘A Name for the Cerberus Painter?’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.75 (1955), pp. 154–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 352–3, 399–400
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 160, 174, 337
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (New York, 1974), p. 106
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), p. 18
  • A. Greifenhagen: ‘Fragmente eines rotfigurigen Pinax’, Essays in Archaeology and the Humanities, Otto J. Brendel in Memoriam, ed. L. Bonfante and H. von Heintze (Mainz, 1976), pp. 43–8
  • J. R. Mertens: Attic White-ground: Its Development on Shapes Other than Lekythoi (New York and London, 1977), pp. 105–8
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 95, 104, 182

Phiale Painter

  • John H. Oakley

(fl c. 450–c. 425 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after an Attic Red-figure phiale depicting a Dancing School (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 97.371), and he is attributed with over 200 extant vases, all but seven of which are also Red-figure. These few White-ground works are his best, and include some genuine masterpieces.

Although he also decorated other shapes, the Phiale Painter preferred Nolan amphorae and lekythoi. His deployment of two rows of pictures on calyx kraters and of shoulder figures on his lekythoi is unusual but characteristic. Though he was a pupil of the Achilles Painter, his vigorous figures, painted with rapid, sketchy lines, contrast with the static, precisely drawn figures of his teacher. His medium-sized figures are the most successful, the larger ones being somewhat sparsely drawn and the smaller ones poorly proportioned.

The Phiale Painter’s range of subjects is remarkable, and some of his mythological scenes seem inspired by Greek tragedy. His hydriai with Thamyras and the Muses (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 16549: Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., 81531) may reflect Sophocles’ Thamyras, and the scenes on his White-ground calyx kraters of Perseus and Andromeda (Agrigento, Mus. Reg. Archeol.) and Hermes Bringing the Infant Dionysos to Papposilenos and the Nymphs of Nysa (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., 16586) may derive from Sophocles’ Andromeda and Dionysiskos respectively. Rare subjects also occur, such as Perseus and the Graiai on a fragment (Delos, Archaeol. Mus.) and Bendis on a cup (Verona, Mus. Archeol. Teat. Romano, 52). There are also some unusual scenes from daily life—for example the Unveiling of the Bride on a loutrophoros (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 10.223) and a chorus of muffled dancers on a double-register calyx krater (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus., Astarita 42)—while recurrent scenes include a youth or god pursuing a woman, a dancing girl and mistress, Europa and the Bull, and women in domestic settings.

The subject-matter of his White-ground work and its unusual treatment often distinguish it from that of his contemporaries. On a lekythos (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 6248) Hermes, leader of souls on their last journey, beckons gently to a woman standing in front of a tomb and adjusting a wreath on her head before departing for the underworld. On another (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 19355), a woman stands to the left of a tomb, holding a pet hare, while an old maidservant kneels wailing at the other side.

The Red-figure paintings vary more in quality. Some have a certain monumentality, for example the scene on a stamnos (Warsaw, N. Mus., 142465) depicting women preparing for a Dionysiac ritual. Others, especially on Nolan amphorae and lekythoi, are less carefully drawn, though their compositions still give an attractive impression of unrestrained movement which contrasts with the works of many contemporary painters, notably the Achilles Painter, who seem to have been more profoundly influenced by the serenity of the Parthenon sculptures.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1014–26, 1678
  • G. M. A. Richter: Attic Red-figured Vases (New Haven, 1946, 2/1958), pp. 122–3
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960), trans. and rev. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 364–5, 367, 374
  • D. C. Kurtz: Athenian White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1975), pp. 48–50
  • J. H. Oakley: The Phiale Painter, Kerameus, vol.8 (Mainz, 1990)
  • J. H. Oakley: ‘Attische rotfigurige Pelike des Phiale Malers und weitere Addenda’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.] (1995), pp. 495–501


(fl c. 520–c. 500 bc).

Greek vase painter and potter. Phintias signed six vases as painter and three, which he did not paint, as potter. The spelling of his name varies, suggesting that he was not highly literate. Altogether, less than 20 vases ascribed to him survive, but these display considerable variety of shape, including Type A amphorae, a pelike, a volute krater, calyx kraters, both kalpis and shoulder-type hydriai, a psykter, and drinking cups.

Phintias was one of the so-called Pioneer group of vase painters (which also included the more gifted Euthymides and Euphronios), who explored and developed the new, Red-figure technique (see Greece, ancient, §V, 6, (i)). His drawing is bold and simple and avoids over-embellishment of garments and armour. He was, however, attentive to detail, as in his careful drawing on an amphora (Paris, Louvre, G 42) of the soles of Leto’s sandals. Like other Pioneers, he mastered the art of bold anatomical foreshortening, a good example being the figure of Apollo on an amphora (Tarquinia, Pal. Vitelleschi, RC 6843). His compositions seldom contain many figures, usually only three or four, and spread comfortably over the surface of the vase.

Phintias’ subjects vary considerably and do not reveal particular preferences for specific myths or scenes of daily life. Among his most impressive paintings is Herakles and Apollo Struggling for the Delphic Tripod (on Tarquinia, Pal. Vitelleschi, RC 6843). It shows a youthful-looking Herakles firmly grasping one leg of the tripod and threatening Apollo with his club. The other side of the amphora shows Satyrs with Maenads in the Presence of Dionysos. A satyr depicted full-face and a close-knit group comprising a satyr and maenad recall similar groups in the work of the Amasis Painter, and the figure of Tityos carrying off Leto probably derives from such groups as the wrestlers on an amphora by the Andokides Painter (Berlin, Antikenmus., 2159). On Phintias’ pelike (Paris, Louvre, Cp 10784) a satyr and a maenad make music and dance while Dionysos looks on. The scenes of revelling on the body of a hydria (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2422) are in a similar vein, and the shoulder of this vase depicts Satyrs Molesting a Deer. Other mythological scenes painted by Phintias involve heroes and their exploits. One side of a cup (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2590 (J401)) shows Herakles Wrestling with the Giant Alkyoneus; the other depicts Herakles and Apollo Struggling for the Delphic Tripod. A calyx krater (St Petersburg, Hermitage, 1843) shows Theseus Struggling with a Beast (probably the bull of Marathon), and a fragment (Limenas Mus.) depicts Achilles Fighting Memnon. An amphora (Paris, Louvre, G 42) and a psykter (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 01.8019) both show scenes of youthful athletes with their trainers. Other images of daily life include a Music Lesson on another hydria (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2421) and Youths at a Fountain and A Boy Buying a Vase on a cup (Baltimore, MD, Mus. A.). Symposia are depicted on the shoulders of two hydriai (London, BM, E 159 and Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2421).


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 23–25
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 323, 507, 509
  • D. L. Cairns: ‘Veiling, Aidos, and a Red-figure Amphora by Phintias’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.116 (1996) pp. 152–8


  • Lucilla Burn

(fl c. 430–c. 410 bc).

Greek vase painter. About 21 vases or fragments have been ascribed to him, ranging from kraters to oinochoai and lekythoi. Active in Athens, his name is known from the signature on a large Red-figure volute krater (New York, Met., 27.122.8) depicting Apollo Preparing to Mount his Chariot. The scene covers both sides of the vase, showing Apollo taking his lyre from Leto, while Artemis, holding the reins, looks back at him. Hermes stands at the horses’ heads, Athena behind them, and Zeus, Hera, Dionysos, Poseidon, and Herakles are also present. The figures are statuesque and rather static, and are arranged along a single ground-line. Most are swathed in drapery, with their bodies and legs in three-quarter view and their heads in profile. The painting is careful, the effect dignified, yet both subject and composition seem unenterprising. Polion was apparently aware of new advances in composition though not altogether comfortable with them. This impression is confirmed by scenes on a second large volute krater (Ferrara, Mus. N. Archeol., T. 127) showing Thamyris Playing his Lyre before the Muses and the Return of Hephaistos. Here, though the figures are not set on a single ground-line, they are not dispersed freely over the field in the more progressive manner of the Meidias Painter and other contemporaries. Instead they are simply arranged on two discrete levels. While Polion’s subjects are often conventional, some are more unusual. The scene of Thamyris is remarkable for its representation of the xoana (wooden statues) of the Muses and may show the influence of a dithyramb, as may a scene on a bell krater (New York, Met., 25.78.66) depicting comic silenoi dancing and strumming their lyres below an inscription referring to the Athenian festival of the Panathenaia.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1171–3
  • W. Real: Studien zur Entwicklung der Vasenmalerei im ausgehenden 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Münster, 1973), pp. 28–34
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases, the Classical Period (London, 1989), p. 167


  • Susan B. Matheson

(fl c. 450–c. 425 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was a prolific Athenian Red-figure artist of the High Classical period (c. 450–c. 400 bc), who was trained in the workshop of the Niobid Painter, from whom he derived his monumental style. This was apparently based on Early Classical wall paintings, notably by Mikon and Polygnotos, after whom this vase painter was probably named, and is characterized by the use of an uneven ground-line to suggest landscape, as on Polygnotos’ early pelike showing Apollo Attacking Tityos (Paris, Louvre, G 375).

Like other vase painters in Periclean Athens, Polygnotos modelled some of his figures on the sculptures designed by Pheidias for the Parthenon. Thus the two horsemen on his stamnos (Oxford, Ashmolean, 1916.68) echo the riders on the Parthenon frieze (442–438 bc), while many of his other figures recall the frieze in their stateliness or in more specific details.

Polygnotos decorated large pots, primarily amphorae, stamnoi, and kraters, and depicted an unusually wide variety of subjects for his time. He favoured combat scenes, including ones from epic poetry, such as Greeks Fighting Amazons, Kaineus and the Centaurs, Apollo and Tityos, Perseus and Medusa, Ajax and Kassandra, and the Death of Laios. He also portrayed quieter traditional subjects, including Triptolemos, scenes of lovemaking, symposia, sacrifices, and departing warriors. Five vases signed by Polygnotos survive, among them two stamnoi (Brussels, Musées Royaux A. & Hist., A 134; London, BM 96.7–16.5), and nearly 70 more have been attributed to him, mostly by Beazley, who also regarded him as having supervised a large workshop, including the Peleus Painter and Kleophon Painter. Painters associated with Polygnotos are now known as the Group of Polygnotos, to which many vases are now assigned, such a fine pelike showing a musician (Paris, Louvre, G 543).


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1027–33
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960), Eng. trans. and rev. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase-painting (London, 1962)
  • M. Halm-Tisserant: ‘La représentation du retour d’Hephaistos dans l’Olympe: Iconographie traditionnelle et innovations formelles dans l’atelier de Polygnotos, 440–430’, Antike Kunst, vol.29/1 (1986) pp. 8–21
  • S. B. Matheson: ‘Polygnotos: An Iliupersis Scene at the Getty Museum’, Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vol.3 (Malibu, 1986)
  • L. A. Burkhalter: An Iconographic Analysis of the High Classical Greek Neck-amphora Attributed to the Group of Polygnotos, High Museum, Atlanta (diss., Atlanta, GA, Emory U., 1988)
  • A. Bowtell: The Group of Polygnotos, 3 vols (diss., U. Oxford, 1994)
  • S. B. Matheson: Polygnotos and Vase Painting in Classical Athens (Madison, WI, 1995)

Polyphemos Painter

  • Nicolas Coldstream

(fl c. 670–c. 650 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was active either in Athens or on the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. An imaginative innovator in mythical representation on a grand scale, he was named after the Middle Proto-Attic amphora from Eleusis (Eleusis Mus.) showing the intoxicated Polyphemos blinded by Odysseus. His early work owes something to the Early Proto-Attic (c. 700–c. 670 bc) Mesogeia Painter (see Greece, ancient, §V, 4, (iii)), who was perhaps his teacher. On the Eleusis amphora his style is mature, exploiting black and white paint equally. His human figures are in silhouette, except for outlined faces; heads are rounded above, with receding forehead and chin, and bull neck. Minimal use is made of incision, and figures do not overlap. On the neck the giant Polyphemos, blinded while asleep, holds a wine cup to explain his misfortune. On the body Perseus, having beheaded Medusa, escapes from her two enraged Gorgon sisters, protected by Athena; uniquely, the Gorgons’ faces are portrayed as Near Eastern metal cauldrons with serpents appended. The confronting lion and boar on the shoulder of the vase bare their teeth, typically aggressive specimens of this painter’s animal repertory.

A krater stand (ex-Pergamonmus., Berlin; see Corp. Vasorum Ant., Berlin i, pp. 24–5, pls 31–3), a later work of this painter, shows, among an assembly of chieftains, a figure named, in Aiginetan script, Menelas (Menelaos). The stand, like several other works by this hand, is from Aigina but made of Attic clay; Aiginetan clay is unsuitable for the production of fine painted pottery. It follows either that the Polyphemos Painter was an Aiginetan resident in Athens, or that he worked on Aigina in the Proto-Attic tradition.


  • G. E. Mylonas: Ho Protoattikos amphoreus tis Eleusinos [The Protoattic amphora, from Eleusis] (Athens, 1957)
  • E. T. H. Brann: Late Geometric and Protoattic Pottery, Mid 8th to Late 7th Century BC (1962), vol.8 of The Athenian Agora (Princeton, 1953–), pp. 11, 23–4
  • S. P. Morris: The Black and White Style: Athens and Aigina in the Orientalizing Period (New Haven, 1984), pp. 37–51
  • R. G. Osborne: ‘Death Revisited, Death Revised: The Death of the Artist in Archaic and Classical Greece’, vol.11 (March 1988) pp. 1–16

Priam Painter

  • Warren G. Moon

(fl c. 515–c. 500 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after a Black-figure hydria (Madrid, Mus. Arqueol. N., 10920) depicting Priam Setting out to Ransom the Body of Hector. The nearly 60 vases attributed to him cover an unusually wide variety of subjects, which are sometimes accompanied by narrative inscriptions. There is compositional balance between decorated and undecorated areas, costumes and accessories are often elaborate and exotic, and horses are small and fine-boned, with little or no indication of musculature. This refinement recalls works by the Antimenes Painter and by Psiax, who may have been his teacher: the Rycroft Painter was apparently a workshop colleague. Women are frequently depicted in scenes greatly animated by their gestures and poses: in an orchard, bathing in a grotto, or fetching water at a fountain. Chariot scenes and depictions of Herakles and other heroes departing are also common, while his Herakles Fighting Alkyoneus and Aeneas Carrying his Father are among the earliest examples of these scenes. These works are related iconographically to the Andokides Painter and his circle, and both iconographically and compositionally to paintings by the Leagros group. Sometimes the frame of the decorative panel interrupts the narrative elements; conversely figures sometimes overlap the frame, a device apparently designed to create elementary spatial relationships and to compete with the innovations of Red-figure painting.


  • W. G. Moon: ‘The Priam Painter: Some Iconographic and Stylistic Associations’, Ancient Greek Art and Iconography (Madison, WI, 1983), pp. 97–118

Pronomos Painter

  • Ian McPhee

(fl c. 410–c. 390 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was an exponent of the florid style of Athenian vase painting of the late 5th century bc and early 4th, and he is named after the flute player Pronomos (fl c. 420–c. 390 bc) depicted on a large volute krater (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., 3240). The obverse of this vase provides the most comprehensive, if much debated, representation of human actors, both tragic and satyr chorus, as well as the playwright Demetrios, the aulos-player Pronomos, and the lyre-player Charinos, in the company of the god of the theatre, Dionysos, and his consort Ariadne. The Pronomos Painter was probably a pupil of the Dinos Painter and perhaps the Kadmos and Pothos Painters, and his style is particularly close to that of the Painter of Louvre G 433, with whom he collaborated on one vase (Berlin, Staatliche Museen, 2642). Apart from the Painter of Louvre G 433, the Pronomos Painter is also closely connected with the Talos Painter, and all three may have been active in the same workshop, which may have produced Black-figure Panathenaic amphorae (see Kuban Painter). The Painter of Vienna 1089 must have been his pupil. The Pronomos Painter decorated at least one volute krater, two bell kraters, and a squat lekythos, and his later works probably included a bell krater (Turin, Mus. Civ., 4122), a pelike (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1333), a calyx krater (Genoa, Mus. di Archeologia Ligure, 1911.163), and a hydria (San Simeon, CA, State Historical Monument). Apart from the grandiose theatre scene on the Naples volute krater, his subject-matter can be mythological (Bellerophon and the Chimaera, Gigantomachy), and Dionysiac. The florid style in which he worked is exemplified by the depiction of garments richly ornamented with enscrolled palmettes, rosettes, or asterisks and by the considerable use of white, golden dilute glaze, and added clay that is at times gilded. His treatment of the male torso in three-quarter view and of the head in profile is also characteristic.


  • A. Furtwängler and K. Reichhold, eds: Griechische Vasenmalerei, vol.3 (Munich, 1932), pp. 132–50 [contribution by E. Buschor]
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1336–7
  • F. Brommer: ‘Zur Deutung der Pronomosvase’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.] (1964), pp. 109–14
  • E. Simon: ‘Die “Omphale” des Demetrios’, Archäologischer Anzeiger [prev. pubd as Verz. Mitglieder Dt. Archäol. Inst.] (1971), pp. 199–206
  • W. Real: Studien zur Entwicklung der Vasenmalerei im ausgehenden 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Münster, 1973)
  • I. McPhee: ‘Turin 4122 and the Pronomos Painter’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.82 (1978), pp. 551–3
  • B. Shefton: ‘The Krater from Baksy’, The Eye of Greece, ed. D. Kurtz and B. Sparkes (Cambridge, 1982), pp. 149–81
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Classical Period (London, 1989), pp. 167–168
  • M. Robertson: The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 255–9
  • S. Drougou: ‘Krieg und Frieden im Athen des späten 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr.: Die rotfigurige Hydria aus Pella’, Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts: Athenische Abteilung, vol.115 (2000), pp. 147–216
  • O. Taplin and R. Wyles, eds: The Pronomos Vase and its Context (Oxford, 2010)
  • G. Giudice and F. Muscolino: Vasi Attici Corinzi Apuli a Cipro (Catania, 2012), pp. 65–66
  • K. Romiopoulou: ‘Helen’s Birth on a Calyx Krater from Acanthus’, Amilla, The Quest for Excellence, Studies Presented to Guenter Kopcke in Celebration of his 75th Birthday, ed. R. B. Koehl (Philadelphia, 2013), pp. 399–408
  • Search list for Greek Vases in the Beazley Archive (Artist Name: Pronomos Painter): [Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford]

Psiax [Menon Painter]

  • Beth Cohen

(fl c. 525–c. 510 bc).

Greek vase painter. He played an important role in the transition from Attic Black-figure to Red-figure. Formerly called the Menon Painter, after the potter’s signature on a Red-figure amphora (Philadelphia, U. PA, Mus., 5349), he signed two Red-figure alabastra as painter, both of which bear the signature of the potter Hilinos (Karlsruhe, Bad. Landesmus., 242 (B 120) and Odessa, A. Mus.)

Psiax was an experimenter who mastered several vase-painting techniques, including Black-figure, and variants with White-ground or coral-red glaze, Six’s technique and Red-figure. Fewer than 60 works are attributed to him, and these include large vases (e.g. amphorae, hydriai, and calyx kraters) and small vases (cups, an aryballos, alabastra, a lekythos, kyathoi, a mastos, and plates).

His attractive miniatures recall Black-figure work by the Amasis Painter, who may have been his teacher. Signatures of the potter Andokides on two of his amphorae (London, BM; Madrid, Mus. Arqueol. N.) attest to his connection with the workshop that produced the earliest Red-figure and bilingual vases, and where Psiax worked beside the Andokides Painter. He clearly painted both the Red-figure and Black-figure monumental compositions on his stiffly formal bilingual amphora (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 2302 (J. 373)). The Red-figure scene shows Dionysos Reclining Between a Dancing Maenad and Satyr; the Black-figure one, Iolaos Steadying Herakles’ Chariot. The latter has a kalos inscription praising Hippokrates, and elsewhere Psiax praised Aischis, Karystios, and Smikrion. Unusually in Red-figure, Psiax’s inscriptions are always incised.

He favoured Dionysiac subjects, as on his Black-figure kyathos (Milan, Mus. Poldi Pezzoli, 482), and the exploits of Herakles, for example Herakles and the Nemean Lion (Black-figure amphora, Brescia, Mus. Civ. Età Romana), Herakles with Amazons (Red-figure aryballos, ex-Bologna, Mus. Civ. Archeol., PU 322), or Herakles with a Horse of Diomedes (coral-red cup, St Petersburg, Hermitage). Horses appear in Psiax’s best large compositions. Two amphorae, in Brescia and Philadelphia (U. PA, Mus., 5399), show Horses Led by Youths in Thracian Dress. The stately chariot-harnessing scene on a hydria (destr.; see Beazley, 1978, p. 293) was Psiax’s monumental Black-figure masterpiece. A similar, but livelier, hydria scene (Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Atheneum) recalls the Antimenes Painter, whom J. D. Beazley termed ‘Psiax’s brother’.

Psiax’s paintings on both Red-figure and Black-figure small vases share the same imagery and delicate, sinuous, vivid draughtsmanship. He combined fine design with sensitivity to colour, as on the perfectly composed tondo of his Red-figure cup showing A Young Archer in Scythian Dress Grasping the Reins of a Red-maned Horse (New York, Met., 14.146.1). The warriors’ spears on the outside are white with black incised heads. Elsewhere Psiax even added objects in clay relief, and he was among the first Red-figure painters to reserve hair contours. The anatomy of the warriors on his New York cup is detailed, with limbs twisting, shields shown in profile and three-quarter view, and one warrior falling in back view. This interest in anatomy and space anticipates the Pioneer group, and indeed, Phintias and Euphronios may have been his pupils. Archer, trumpets, and warrior recur on Black-figure plates (London, BM) where Psiax retreated to a charmingly old-fashioned decorative realm.


  • H. R. W. Smith: New Aspects of the Menon Painter (Berkeley, CA, 1929)
  • G. M. A. Richter: ‘The Menon painter = Psiax’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.38 (1934), pp. 547–54
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 6–8; vol.2, pp. 1617–18
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 292–5, 692
  • P. E. Arias and M. Hirmer: Tausend Jahre griechischer Vasenkunst (Munich, 1960); Eng. trans. and rev. by B. Shefton as A History of Greek Vase Painting (London, 1962), pp. 304–5
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 127–8, 321
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (London, 1974), p. 106
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period (London, 1975), pp. 17–18
  • B. Cohen: Attic Bilingual Vases and Their Painters (New York, 1978), pp. 194–239, 276–87
  • J. R. Mertens: ‘Some New Vases by Psiax’, Antike Kunst, vol.22 (1979), pp. 22–37
  • B. Jeske and C. Stein: ‘Eine frührotfigurige Hydria des Psiax’, Hefte des Archäologischen Seminars der Universität Bern 8 (1982), pp. 5–20
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 76–7, 150–51
  • M. Robertson: The art of vase-painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 9, 12–17, 34, 42, 51
  • M. B. Moore: Attic Red-figured and White-ground Pottery, The Athenian Agora, vol.30 (Princeton, 1997), pp. 83–5, 343
  • P. Pelletier-Hornby: ‘Deux aspects de Psiax dans la collection Dutuit du Petit Palais (Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris)’, Revue du Louvre et des musées de France, vol.50/4 (Oct 2000) pp. 27–37, 117

Ram Jug Painter

  • Nicolas Coldstream

(fl c. 665–c. 640 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after the scene on the Middle Proto-Attic Black-and-white-style jug (Aigina, Archaeol. Mus., 566), in which Odysseus’ comrades escape from Polyphemos under rams’ bellies. The Aiginetan provenance of many vessels attributed to this painter has prompted a view that he worked on Aigina rather than in Athens. He was schooled in the tradition of the Early Proto-Attic (c. 700–c. 670 bc) style of the Analatos Painter, and his earliest work may be seen in the Kerameikos Mug group, showing chariot teams, hoplite warriors, and mourning women. The ovoid krater in Berlin (ex-Pergamonmus., A32; see Corp. Vasorum Ant., Berlin i, pp. 19–20, pls 19–21) has also been attributed to his early stage, portraying Apollo, Artemis, and a scene identified by some as Orestes slaying Aigisthos.

His mature figure style appears on the Ram Jug and on the fragmentary amphora showing Peleus handing over his infant son Achilles to the care of the centaur Cheiron, who returns from the chase (Berlin, Antikenmus., A9). The squarish human faces are in outlined profile, with a gentle curve on the upper contour; characteristic are the sloping almond eye under a long brow, the large aquiline nose, the short mouth, and the curved line of the chin carried up to the ear. The painter’s animals have similar eyes; their bodies are in silhouette, sometimes with touches of incision or white paint. An olpe (wine jug) with a large lion head in outline (Athens, Agora Mus., P 22550) is a fine specimen of the painter’s late style of animal drawing, which reveals a delight in resilient curves.


  • J. M. Cook: ‘Protoattic Pottery’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.35 (1934–5), pp. 193–4
  • S. Papaspyridi-Karouzou: ‘Archaika mnemeia tou Ethnikou Mouseiou’ [Archaic objects from the National Museum], Archaiologiki ephimeris [Archaeological journal; prev. pubd as Ephimeris Archaiol.] (1952), pp. 149–66
  • E. T. H. Brann: Late Geometric and Protoattic Pottery, Mid 8th to Late 7th Century BC (1962), vol.8 of The Athenian Agora (Princeton, 1962), pp. 11, 23–4
  • S. P. Morris: The Black and White Style: Athens and Aigina in the Orientalizing Period (New Haven, 1984), pp. 51–9

Reed Painter

  • Irma Wehgartner

(fl c. 420–c. 410 bc).

Greek vase painter. He mainly decorated small or medium-sized Attic White-ground lekythoi, exclusively in matt paint, and is named after the reeds that he often depicted. His output was large, but monotonous both in its subject-matter and in its individual motifs. He usually depicted only two figures: generally a youth and a woman, less often two women, on either side of a broad funerary stele; or Charon waiting in his boat among the reeds to ferry the deceased, normally a woman, across the Styx. His more unusual pictures, which include several depicting three figures, battles, or horse-riding, and one depicting a prothesis, mostly occur on a few larger lekythoi.

The patternwork invariably consists of meanders with saltire squares above the picture and palmettes and scrolls on the shoulder. A few palmette leaves are red, otherwise all the elements are dark grey. The figures have striking red outlines. The figure drawing is competently executed with a sweeping line, but perfunctory and lacking in expression. Bodies are often in three-quarter view, creating some impression of depth, but heads are always in profile. The pictures give an impression of sketchiness, owing to the disappearance of the short-lived matt paint that originally coloured the cloaks and shawls revealing incomplete outlines (see Greece, ancient, §V, 7). Similarities in patternwork, colour scheme, and painting technique suggest that the Reed Painter shared a workshop with Group R (see above).


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1376–82, 1692, 1704
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 485–6
  • D. C. Kurtz: Athenian White Lekythoi (Oxford, 1975)
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989)

Rider Painter

  • Maria Pipili

(fl c. 570–c. 535 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was the least important of the five major Lakonian Black-figure vase painters of the 6th century bc, and his work was never innovative. The Rider Painter was a pupil of the Boreads Painter and later imitated in turn the work of the Naukratis Painter, the Arkesilaos Painter, and the Hunt Painter. He is named from the scenes of a rider accompanied by small winged daemons on three cups (St Petersburg, Hermitage, 183; London, BM, B1; Paris, Louvre, E 665), which may be imitations of a lost work by the Naukratis Painter. The least talented of his colleagues, he had a dry, careless style, particularly on his latest vases, and the only interesting aspect of his work is his predilection for lively narrative scenes, often given unusual and humorous renderings. His various mythological subjects include the heroes Herakles, Bellerophon, Achilles and Odysseus, and he also painted such everyday scenes as revels and symposia. Many scenes, however, suffer from clumsy and vague execution, which makes them difficult to interpret. Thus, a scene on a cup depicting a seated figure with an eagle (Tocra, Archaeol. Mus., 932) presumably imitates the Naukratis Painter’s scenes of Zeus (e.g. on a cup; Paris, Louvre, E 668), but it in fact looks more like Prometheus bound. A cup that appears to show an unidentified warrior attacking a snake at a fountain (Paris, Louvre, E 669) resembles depictions of Achilles’ ambush of Troilos, though it is certainly a different event, possibly Apollo and Python, or Kadmos and the Dragon.


  • C. Rolley: ‘Le Peintre des cavaliers’, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, vol.83 (1959), pp. 275–84, pl. 12
  • C. M. Stibbe: Lakonische Vasenmaler des sechsten Jahrhunderts v. Chr., 2 vols (Amsterdam and London, 1972), pp. 151–75, pls 93–112

Rycroft Painter

(fl c. 510 bc).

Greek vase painter. He painted in the Black-figure style at a time when most of his contemporaries were turning to Red-figure, and intimations of the new outline technique may be seen in his figures. Beazley associated him with Psiax and the Priam Painter, and Boardman compared his work with the Pioneer group of Attic Red-figure painters. His name vase (Oxford, Ashmolean, 1965.118), a belly amphora of Type A, bears a scene of Leto Mounting a Chariot with Apollo, Artemis, and Hermes in attendance; indeed, chariot scenes occur more often than any other theme in his work. Several amphorae and hydriae show wedding scenes with chariots, and they also occur in some of his Dionysiac scenes, another favourite theme. In addition to vases, a plaque from the Acropolis at Athens is attributed to him, painted with a scene of Athena Watching the Vintage.


  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 335–8
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 148–9
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (London, 1974), p. 113
  • W. G. Moon: ‘Some New and Little-known Vases by the Rycroft and Priam Painters’, Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, 1983/R 1990), pp. 41–70
  • E. J. Holmberg: On the Rycroft Painter and Other Athenian Black-figure Vase-painters with a Feeling for Nature (Jonsered, 1992)


  • Heide Mommsen

(fl c. 600–c. 570 bc).

Attributed to Sophilos: Chalcidian shaped volute-krater (vase for mixing wine and water), terracotta, 19 3/8 x 21 13/16 in. (49.2 x 55.4 cm), d.17 7/8 in. (45.4 cm), early 6th century BC (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Fried Gift, 1977, Accession ID: 1977.11.2)

photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Greek vase painter. He is the first Attic vase painter whose Ancient name is known. It appears on three vases which he signed as painter; a fourth signature is probably to be reconstructed as a potter’s signature. Around fifty, mostly large, vessels or fragments of such are attributed to the painter. As it was the fashion of his time, he adapted to the Corinthian animal style, decorating his vases mainly or entirely with mixed processions of wild, tame, and mythical creatures, which he executed in a lively and careless style (see fig.). His importance is due to his rarer many-figured friezes depicting mythological subjects. These appear in his advanced oeuvre and are more ambitious and more detailed than any earlier pictures of myths. Also new are most of the subjects he chose and the very liberal use of inscriptions.

Attic Black-figure dinos (the Erskine Dinos) by Sophilos: Marriage of Peleus and Thetis, h. 710 mm, c. 580 BC (London, British Museum); photo © The British Museum

Sophilos’ best-preserved mythological frieze occurs on the shoulder of the Erskine Dinos’ (London, BM, 1971.11–1.1). It occupies a rather higher band than the conventional animal friezes beneath it and depicts the Procession of Gods at the Marriage of Peleus and Thetis. Peleus is shown standing in front of his house, holding a kantharos for a libation, and greeting a procession of 41 deities in brightly coloured robes arriving on foot or in carriages, led by their messenger Iris. All the figures are labelled with inscriptions in red paint, and some are also identified by special attributes. Sophilos has used his uninhibited drawing style imaginatively to create an animated festive scene with Apollo singing and playing the lyre and a muse playing Pan-pipes. This figural frieze is made to stand out from the animal friezes beneath it by various means: the figures are overlapping freely; female figures and some horses are drawn in outline instead of silhouette; and female clothing is depicted in white paint applied directly on to the clay and outlined in red and decorated with red animal friezes and ornaments. A similar dinos was dedicated by Sophilos on the Athenian Acropolis (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., Acropolis 587). Somewhat later, Kleitias tackled the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis in a strikingly similar way on his famous calyx krater (Florence, Mus. Archeol., 4209) though in a more sophisticated miniaturistic style. Whether he modelled his work directly on that of Sophilos, or whether both artists shared a common source, is uncertain.

Fragments of a third dinos signed by Sophilos (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 15499) depict the Funeral Games of Patroklos. The scene has two unique features: an inscription recording its subject, and a representation of a grandstand packed with wildly gesticulating spectators urging on a four-horse chariot. Achilles was also depicted, but only his name and the fingertips of one hand survive. Sophilos also decorated the first extant lebes gamikos (Izmir, Archaeol. Mus. 3332), a cult vessel for the bridal bath. His choice of scene was also new: the Wedding of Helen and Menelaos, with the bride and groom in one carriage and a second carriage carrying Helen’s brothers, the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux). Only a few other fragments of mythological friezes by Sophilos remain. However, he also produced clay funerary plaques with mourning women (Athens, Vlasto Col.; see Bakir, p. 69–71), which were destined to decorate tombs.


  • J. de La Genière: ‘Quand le peintre Sophilos signait ses oevres’, MonPiot, vol.74 (1955), pp. 35–43
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 37–43, 681, 714
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 18–19
  • G. Bakir: Sophilos: Ein Beitrag zu seinem Stil (Mainz, 1981)
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), p. 10–12
  • D. Williams: ‘Sophilos in the British Museum’, Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vol.1 (Malibu, CA, 1983), pp. 9–34
  • A. B. Brownlee: ‘Sophilos and Early Attic Black-figured Dinoi’, Ancient Greek and Related Pottery, ed. J. Christiansen and T. Melander (Copenhagen, 1988), pp. 80–87
  • A. B. Brownlee: ‘Story Lines: Observations on Sophilan Narrative’, in The Ages of Homer. A Tribute to Emily Townsend Vermeule (Austin, TX, 1995), pp. 363–72
  • C. Isler-Kerenyi: ‘Dionysos im Götterzug bei Sophilos und bei Kleitias’, Antike Kunst, vol.40/2 (1997) pp. 67–81

Sotades Painter

  • Lucilla Burn

(fl c. 470–c. 450 bc).

Greek vase painter. Active in Athens, he was among the finest Early Classical vase painters. Like the best of his late Archaic predecessors, he suited his style to his medium, yet he was apparently also influenced by developments in large-scale painting. He is named after the potter’s signature on some of his vases, though the decoration often complements the crafting of these so well that potter and painter may have been the same man.

The Sotades Painter was a master of both the Red-figure and White-ground techniques. He was essentially a miniaturist, painting either small vases or vases with only a small field for decoration. His White-ground work appears in the tondi of three small, delicate cups in London (BM, D 5–7; see fig.), while his Red-figure work includes cups, a skyphos, a kantharos, and several rhyta of various forms ranging from conventional animal heads to black boys being eaten by crocodiles (e.g. London, BM, E 789) and a camel flanked by two figures, one Persian and one black (Paris, Louvre, CA 3825), which display the virtuosity of the potter Sotades. Another vase, so far unparalleled, is shaped like a knucklebone (London, BM, E 804). It is decorated on all four sides with a Red-figure scene of a bald-headed man apparently instructing several girl dancers. While three dancers have their feet on the ground, the rest appear to float, and the scene may show Aiolos directing the dance of the clouds. The skilful adaptation of the scene to the shape of the vase typifies works by Sotades and the Sotades Painter. The man stands by the vase’s opening, its curved edge suggesting a cave, while the fluid movements of the dancers are accentuated by the vessel’s alternately swelling and contracting contours.

Sotades Painter (attrib.): Cup depicting Glaukos and Polyeidos, diam. 133 mm, Attic White-ground, c. 460–450 bc (London, British Museum); photo © The British Museum For more information:

The Sotades Painter’s figures are neat and precise, and their drapery appears transparent, revealing the forms of the bodies beneath. Their features are small and sometimes quite idiosyncratic, and, despite the miniature scale of the work, the detail is such that, when transparencies of the painter’s White-ground scenes are projected on a screen, they resemble genuine murals, suggesting that he had an interest in larger-scale contemporary painting. In his White-ground works particularly, he tries to convey texture by liberally applying extra layers of painted, or perhaps gilded, clay, and experimenting with shading to suggest the feel of a snake’s scales or animal fur.

The Sotades Painter’s range of subject-matter is wide and interesting. Satyrs occur frequently, as actors or with maenads or animals. There are also several rarer mythological subjects, including Pandora on a sphinx rhyton (London, BM, E 788). The camel rhyton (see above) depicts, in Red-figure, a Combat Between a Greek and a Persian: most unusually, the Persian is shown winning. Especially intriguing are the subjects of three White-ground cups (London, BM, D 5–7), found together in an Athenian tomb. The scene on D 7, with a rustic, an enormous snake, and a recumbent woman, may represent Orion, about to be punished by a serpent for assaulting the goddess Artemis, Kadmos and the Theban serpent, or the beekeeper Aristaios, with Eurydice and the snake that killed her as she fled from his advances. The two girls picking apples on D 6 may represent the Hesperides, and D 5 depicts Glaukos and Polyeidos, perfectly illustrating the Sotades Painter’s ability to evoke an entire story in a single scene.


  • E. Buschor: Das Krokodil des Sotades (Munich, 1919)
  • L. Curtius: ‘Der Astragal des Sotades’, Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, vol.4 (1923)
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 763–73
  • L. Kahil: ‘Un Nouveau Vase plastique du potier Sotadès au Musée du Louvre’, Revue archéologique (1972), pp. 271–84
  • M. Robertson: A History of Greek Art (Cambridge, 1975), pp. 263–6
  • L. Burn: ‘Honey Pots: Three White-ground Cups by the Sotades Painter’, Antike Kunst, vol.28 (1985), pp. 93–105
  • A. Griffiths: ‘“What Leaf-fringed Legend?”: A Cup by the Sotades Painter in London’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.106 (1986), pp. 58–70
  • A. Collinge: ‘Aristaios, or his Father-in-law?’, Antike Kunst, vol.31 (1988), p. 9
  • H. Hoffmann: ‘Aletheia: The Iconography of Death/Rebirth in Three Cups by the Sotades Painter’, Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, vols17–18 (1989), pp. 68–88
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Red Figure Vases, the Classical Period (London, 1989), pp. 39–40
  • H. Hoffmann: Sotades (Oxford, 1997)

Swing Painter

  • Jody Maxmin

(fl c. 540–c. 520 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after an Athenian Black-figure amphora (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A., 98.918) depicting a demure lady on a swing observed by two men on either side. The painting’s spirit and style typify the artist’s prime. Abandoning the solemn themes and meticulousness of his mentors, he preferred loose compositions of charming half-pious, half-sheepish yokels with large flat feet, slouching posture and drooping heads who ‘all look like geese’ (Beazley, 1931/2). These scenes are often unusual or humorous (e.g. men walking on stilts or naked and beset by bees); others, however, are more conventional (e.g. warriors preparing for battle or fighting, or Herakles or Athena with their adversaries), though even here the warriors’ sweet demeanour makes their warfare unconvincing. The artist’s earlier paintings were much closer to the mainstream tradition of such mid-6th-century bc masters as Exekias. They contain dense and intricate compositions, heavy with horses and muscular warriors, in which sombre men and women gather round departing chariots. Though they are often excellent technically, their appeal is evanescent; the artist’s fame derives from his later modest, colloquial style and quirky subjects. Though only a lesser painter, the Swing Painter was prolific, decorating over 150 extant pieces (e.g. in Paris, Louvre; Rome, Villa Giulia; St Petersburg, Hermitage; London, BM; Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml.).


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Groups of Mid-sixth-century Black-figure’, Annual of the British School at Athens, vol.32 (1931–2), pp. 1–22
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 304–10
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 132–5
  • E. Böhr: Der Schaukelmaler (Mainz, 1982)
  • E. Böhr: ‘Weitere Werke des Schaukelmalers’, Praestant Interna: Festschrift für Ulrich Hausmann (Tübingen, 1982), pp. 213–20

Talos Painter

  • Ian McPhee

(fl c. 410–c. 390 bc).

Greek vase painter. He is named after a large Attic Red-figure volute krater (Ruvo di Puglia, Mus. Jatta, 1501) depicting on the obverse a rarely illustrated episode from the voyage of the Argonauts, the Death of the Bronze Giant Talos. The artist seems to have preferred such large vases, particularly kraters, pelikai, loutrophoroi, and even an amphora of Panathenaic shape, but not cups. His vases are decorated with big figures in a florid style, employing much added white paint. The figures’ garments are sometimes finely pleated in a mannered fashion, perhaps in imitation of the Meidias Painter. They often have elaborate patterns, and favourite motifs include linked black palmettes, long black rays, and waves; some have figural borders depicting battle scenes, Nikai, four-horse chariots, and sphinxes. Musculature is carefully delineated and often shaded with golden diluted glaze to produce a strong sense of volume, while some heads are shown in three-quarter view. Beazley attributed only seven whole or fragmentary vases to the painter, but the same hand may be discerned on at least six other extant pieces (U. Würzburg, Wagner-Mus., H 5708 a–e; Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., 2883; Rome, Villa Giulia, 2382; Potenza, Mus. Archeol. Prov., 54622; Taranto, Mus. Archeol. N., 143544; Switzerland, Florence Gottet Collection, G 389). Apart from the story of Talos, the painter’s subject-matter, some of which is unusual, includes Dionysos and Hephaistos Reclining under a Pergola, the Apotheosis of Herakles, Theseus and Peirithoos Sacrificing in the Presence of Helen (perhaps combined with the Abduction of Helen), Helios carrying off Klymene in his Chariot, and a remarkable Gigantomachy and warriors fighting on foot and on horseback. Some scenes and elements of style (e.g. shading in the drapery folds and on bodies) seem to be inspired by contemporary megalographic wall paintings (see Greece, ancient, §VI, 2). The artist’s own background is unclear, though his style owes something to the Dinos Painter and the Kadmos Painter, and in certain elements perhaps reflects the influence of the Meidias Painter. He also worked closely with the Pronomos Painter and the Painter of Louvre G 433, presumably in the same workshop.


  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.2, pp. 1338–9
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), p. 481
  • E. Simon: ‘Dionysos und Hephaistos auf einem Kelchkrater des Talosmalers’, Pantheon: Internationale Zeitschrift für Kunst [cont. as Bruckmanns Pantheon], vol.36 (1978), pp. 199–206
  • G. Greco: ‘Un cratere del pittore di Talos da Serra di Vaglio’, Rivista dell’Istituto nazionale d’archeologia e storia dell’arte [prev. pubd as Riv. Reale Ist. Archeol. & Stor. A.], n. s. 2, vols8–9 (1985–6), pp. 5–35
  • M. Robertson: The Art of Vase Painting in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 256–8
  • H. A. Shapiro: ‘The Marriage of Theseus and Helen’, Kotinos, Festschrift für Erika Simon, ed. H. Froning (Mainz, 1992), pp. 232–6
  • A. D’Amicis: Catalogo del Museo Nazionale Archeologico di Taranto vol.1,3: Atleti e guerrieri (Taranto, 1997), pp. 123–38
  • F. G. Lo Porto: Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Museo Naz. di Taranto, Coll. Rotondo [Italy 70] (Rome, 1998), pp. 19–21, pls 27–32
  • E. Böhr: ‘Talos-Maler’, Der Neue Pauly, vol.11 (Stuttgart, 2001), col. 1234
  • A. Lezzi-Hafter: ‘Helios’ Brautfahrt auf Pelikenfragmenten des Talos-Malers’, ΕΓΡΑΦΣΕΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΠΟΙΕΣΕΝ: Essays on Greek Pottery and Iconography in Honour of Professor Michalis Tiverios, ed. P. Valavanis and E. Manakidou (Thessaloniki, 2014), pp. 351–4
  • R. F. Sutton and Y. Kourayos: ‘Attic Black-figure and Red-figure Fragments from the Sanctuary of Apollo at Mandra on Despotiko’, Athenian Potters and Painters, vol.3, ed. J. H. Oakley (Oxford, 2014), esp. p. 260, figs 12–13
  • Search list for Greek Vases in the Beazley Archive (Artist Name: Talos Painter): [ Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford]


  • H. A. G. Brijder

(fl c. 555–c. 535 bc).

Greek vase painter. He was the son of Nearchos. He has been judged the ‘most typical of the [Attic Black-figure] Little Masters’ (Beazley, 1986), and he apparently combined potting and painting, mainly producing lip cups which he signed as potter between the handle palmettes, but also band cups (see Greece, ancient, §V, 1, (ii)). His drawing was at its most refined and accurate early in his career, when he also added abundant red and white: later his figures became more repetitive and slipshod. Tleson’s lip-cup tondi usually contain birds, animals, or compound creatures such as centaurs, sirens, sphinxes, or Pegasus. The finest, however, have human figures (e.g. the Returning Hunter, London, BM, B 421; Eris, Berlin, Pergamonmus., F 1775; Theseus and the Minotaur, Toledo, OH, Mus. A., 1958.70), the mythological ones being labelled. Some lip cups have no external decoration; others have the usual miniature figures at the centre of the lip on either side, generally winged compound creatures (e.g. sphinxes and sirens), poultry or quadrupeds, but in one case masturbating satyrs (London, BM, B 410). Tleson’s band cups have the same animals or mythical creatures arranged in groups of three or four, the commonest scheme being two opposed cocks between two hens on one side and a stag, goat, or ram between two sirens on the other. His animal decoration was carelessly imitated by several minor painters.


  • J. C. Hoppin: A Handbook of Greek Black-figured Vases (Paris, 1924), pp. 365–405
  • J. D. Beazley: ‘Little Master Cups’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.52 (1932), pp. 172–96
  • J. D. Beazley: Development of Black-figure (1951, 3/1986), pp. 50, 55
  • J. D. Beazley: Black-figure (1956), pp. 178–83
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 74–6
  • J. Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases: A Handbook (London, 1974), p. 60
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 50–51
  • J. T. Haldenstein: Little Master Cups: Studies in Sixth-century Attic Black-figure Vase Painting (diss., U. Cincinnati, 1982; microfilm, Ann Arbor), pp. 70–78
  • Corp. Vasorum Ant., Germany, vol.58, Munich 1 (1988), pp. 23–30
  • Corp. Vasorum Ant., Germany, vol.58, Munich 2 (1989), pp. 16–18
  • Corp. Vasorum Ant., Netherlands, Amsterdam 2 (1996), pp. 49–51, pls. 95, 96.1
  • P. Heesen: The J. L. Theodor Collection of Attic Black-Figure Vases, Allard Pierson Series vol.10 (Amsterdam, 1996), pp. 140–42

Underworld Painter

  • Margot Schmidt

(fl c. 330–c. 310 bc).

Vase painter, active in Apulia. He is named after a famous monumental volute krater found at Canosa (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 3297), with a multi-figured composition showing Pluto and Persephone in their Palace surrounded by figures of the Underworld. This is among the most important of a group of late Apulian vases attributed to various painters that show Underworld scenes. What sets the Underworld Painter clearly apart and justifies his name is his individualistic treatment of the Underworld theme and his particular interest in the fate of Orpheus. For example, on a volute krater (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., SA 709) he showed Orpheus not alone but standing with Eurydice before Hades, whereas other painters tended to neglect the love story. Another volute krater (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 3296), the companion to his name-piece, bears an impressive representation of Medea Slaughtering One of her Children in the presence of the horrified ghost of her father and the demon Oistros, all the main figures being identified by inscriptions. Among the Underworld Painter’s most interesting vases are unique representations of mythological twins, as on the masterful volute krater (Geneva, Mus. A. & Hist.) depicting a Herdsman Returning Melanippe’s Babies, another scene in which the figures are identified by inscriptions. The vivid depiction of emotions expressed on the astonished faces of the family who had abandoned the babies almost equals that of the mature works of the Darius Painter. An outstanding earlier work on a tall lekythos (h. 950 mm; Richmond, VA, Mus. F.A., 80.162) represents multiple twins: the Dioskouroi Raping the Leukippidai (against the protest of their former bridegrooms who were also twins or at least brothers).

The Underworld Painter was evidently inspired directly or indirectly by literary sources: his rather early volute krater showing Hector’s Farewell to Andromache and his Infant Son Astyanax (Berlin, Antikenmus., 1984.45) was probably based on the tragedy Hector by his contemporary, the poet Astydamas, while the story represented in the Melanippe painting may go back to Euripides. The Underworld Painter’s earlier works testify more clearly to the strong influence of the Darius Painter, but his artistic temperament seems always to have been rather different: there is an element of violence in his drawing style; his lines tend to be thicker, with the physiognomies coarser, though still expressive; and subsidiary objects such as pieces of furniture are rendered with much less detail and elaboration.


  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia, vol.2 (Oxford, 1982), pp. 531–40
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia: Supplement 1 (London, 1983), pp. 83–6
  • A. D. Trendall: Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily. A Handbook (London, 1989), pp. 90–91
  • A. D. Trendall and A. Cambitoglou: The Red-figured Vases of Apulia: Supplement 2 (London, 1992), pp. 161–5

Villa Giulia Painter

  • Adrienne Lezzi-Hafter

(fl c. 470–c. 440 bc).

Greek vase painter. The Master of the Villa Giulia Calyx krater, to give him his full name, has been attributed with c. 120 surviving vases. Most of these are large—kraters, stamnoi, pelikai, and kalpides—though he also painted smaller shapes, including alabastra, leythoi, pyxides, rhyta, and cups. The cups and the large pots are iconographically dissimilar and must be anchored in different traditions. His figures are normally tall and solemn and are frequently shown pouring a libation (see fig.), as in the gathering of gods on a cylindroid (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam X13). He added a personal touch to traditional themes: a young satyr appears in the procession of adult satyrs and maenads on a calyx krater (Karlsruhe, Bad. Landesmus. 208); the infant Dionysos is shown in the lap of Hermes on a calyx krater in Moscow (Pushkin Mus. F.A. 16732); and on an alabastron (Providence, RI, Sch. Des., Mus. A. 25.088) he painted a mother or nurse with two boys, one asleep on her shoulder, the other holding tight to her chiton. He must also have been fond of animals: a fawn looks up at Apollo on the replica pelikai at Malibu, CA (Getty Mus. 77. AE.12.1–2; see Frel); a heron stalks through a gynaikeion (women’s quarters) on a kalpis (Switzerland, priv. col.; sold Basle, Münzen und Medaillen AG, 19 Feb 1980, no. 105); and he frequently painted horsemen. His mythological themes include Perseus sneaking up to the Gorgon on a bell-krater in Madrid (Mus. Arqueol. N. 11010), the daughters of Pelias hatching mischief on a kalpis (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam 12.17), and, on another kalpis (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus. 16509), the sleeping Herakles being robbed by satyrs, a scene which must have been inspired by a satyr play. More than half of his preserved stamnoi depict the Lenaia, a festival celebrating the new wine and the rebirth of Dionysos. Athenian women appear as maenads, though a parasol on one stamnos (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A. 90.155) reveals their true origins.

Villa Giulia Painter (attrib.): Kylix depicting a goddess, terracotta, H. 2 7/16 in. (6.2 cm), diameter 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm), Attic White-ground, ca. 470 BC (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Bothmer Purchase Fund, Fletcher Fund, and Rogers Fund, 1979, Accession ID:1979.11.15)

On his name piece (Rome, Villa Giulia 909) a dozen maidens hold each other’s hands and dance to the sound of a flute. The frieze continues without interruption around the krater, though the painter normally distinguishes between front and back. One fragmentary vase is an example of a double-register krater (see Beazley, 1942, 2/1963, 619, 13); other krater fragments are covered with white slip (e.g. Reggio Calabria, Mus. N., 12939; Lausanne, Mus. hist., 3700), a technique he also used on lekythoi and alabastra. His stamnoi and kalpides are of two distinct shapes, the latter decorated on the shoulder or belly.

Most of the cups attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter depict youths, grown men, and athletes, one of whom is shown as a victor, wearing sashes all over his body (Rome, Villa Giulia 5993). On a cup in St Petersburg (Hermitage B1535) a hetaira plays with balls, and a youth is shown wearing female headgear; another has dancing maenads with winged sleeves (Basle, priv. col.; sold Basle, Kunst und Antiquitätenmesse, 1979, no. 93). Since Beazley’s latest list of the Villa Giulia Painter’s known vases in 1971, three more White-ground cups have been attributed to him; one of these, an early work, shows Apollo revealing himself to a Muse (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A. 00356; see Beazley, 1942, 2/1963, 741 middle; for others see Vickers, pl. 17.18 ab and vom Bothmer). Stylistically, the Villa Giulia Painter has several roots. With his cups he follows the workshop tradition of the Brygos Painter; with some of the closed vases he might have learnt from the Berlin Painter’s late school, forming—together with the Chicago and the Methyse painters—an ‘academic’ wing of that tradition. The period of his activity is reflected in the development of his figures from sturdy early Classical forms to slim and elegant high Classical styles.


  • J. D. Beazley: ‘The Master of the Villa Giulia Calyx-Krater’, Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts: Römische Abteilung, vol.27 (1912), pp. 286–97
  • J. D. Beazley: Red-figure (1942, 2/1963), vol.1, pp. 618–26; vol.2, p. 1662
  • J. D. Beazley: Paralipomena (1971), pp. 398, 514
  • M. J. Vickers: ‘A New Cup by the Villa Giulia Painter’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol.94 (1974), pp. 177–9
  • J. Frel: Paintings on Vases in Ancient Greece (Los Angeles, 1979), nos 30–31
  • D. von Bothmer: ‘Greek and Roman Art’, Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions (1979–80), pp. 14–15
  • L. Burn and R. Glynn: Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARV2 and Paralipomena (Oxford, 1982, rev. T. H. Carpenter, 2/1989), pp. 270–71
  • D. L. Wieland: ‘Achill verabschiedet sich von seinen Eltern. Ein rotfiguriger Kelchkrater des Villa Giulia-Malers’, Archäologische Sammlung der Universität Zürich, vol.15 (1989), pp. 6–14
  • G. G. Kavvadías: ‘O Theséas kai o Marathónios Taúros. Paratiríseis se éna néo attikó erythromórpho kionotó kratéra apó to Argos’, in J. H. Oakley and others, eds.: Athenian Potters and Painters. The Conference Proceedings (Oxford, 1997), pp. 309–18

    Data courtesy of the Beazley Archive, Oxford University.

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