Object: Lekythos

Untitled-1C/2001/1/42
Red Figure Lekythos
Southern Italy, Apulia
Apulian
Attributed to the Choes Painter
ca. 350 BCE
Materials: ceramic

This object is a red figure Apulian lekythos that is believed to have been painted by the Choes Painter. The Choes Painter is part of the Lecce Group of Apulian Red Figure vase painters. A similar lekythos, attributed to the Thrysus painter (also part of the Lecce Group) can be found in the Ure Museum, of the University of Reading.

Red Figure vase painting was developed in Athens around 530 BCE and quickly surpassed Black Figure vase painting in popularity. Attic Red Figure vases were highly prized trade items and by the mid-5th century BCE workshops specializing in Red Figure pottery began to be found in Greek colonial areas such as Southern Italy. Before long the Red Figure vases of Apulia were comparable in artistic quality with those produced in Athens.

Apulian vase painting is commonly divided into two main styles, the “Plain” style and the “Ornate” (or “Rich”) style. The “Ornate” style is found mainly on large vessels like volute kraters or amphorae and, like the name suggests, is characterized by elaborate painted scenes sometimes containing up to twenty human figures. “Ornate” style decoration also tends to use a wider range of colors in its decoration, including lots of yellow and white painted areas. Meanwhile, “Plain” style vases tend to be small and the decoration is kept simple, with typically no more than a few human figures. [Kathryn S. (Barr) McCloud]

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