Greek Attic Amphora with Black Figures from the Edinburgh Painter’s Workshop

£ 9,500.00

A beautiful example of an Ancient Greek Attic black figure amphora, a vessel used in antiquity to store wine and other goods. The vase is decorated with a drinking party, known in Ancient Greek as symposium, where a woman and a man are depicted reclined on a kline, while a youth is shown pouring some wine from an oinochoe. A musician is portrayed to the left, wearing a deeply folded himation while playing a double flute, entertaining the couple. The intimacy of the scene is emphasised by the presence of a domesticated dog, patiently waiting under the kline. The reverse of the vessel features fragments of a depiction, possibly an athletic competition. Further embellishments include traditional Attic patterns, such as palmettes and rosettes, rendered in glossy black slip. The figures are all portrayed in an extremely naturalistic manner, with much attention given towards details, such as anatomical and facial features, rendered through incised lines. Interestingly, details of the female figure’s face have been rendered in pure clay with minimal iron oxide, which once fired would have turned white. The dress of the female figure is further enriched by dots of red ochre, which would have turned red-purple when fired. Considering the style and the rendering of the figures, the vase can be attributed to the workshop of the Edinburgh Painter, an artist that was known to use different coloured clay to add dynamism and naturalism to its creations. The vase has been dated between the 6th and the 5th century BC, chronologically matching the Edinburgh Painter’s period of activity. An extremely beautiful piece, with incredible decoration and condition.

Date: Circa 6th- 5th century BC
Provenance: From the Van der Meulen collection, bought by the owner before 1970.
Condition: Professionally repaired.


Product Code: GS-58
Category: Tags: , , , , ,

Attic red and black figures pottery are an iconic part of Ancient Greek artistic culture. Even for those who are new to Greek ceramics, the bold, contrasting designs of the style are instantly recognisable. The style originated in around the late 7th, early 6th Century BC in Attica, the region surrounding Athens, from which Attic pottery takes its name. The popularity of the style lasted up until the end of the 4th Century BC, and was used almost exclusively for high quality pottery for high status customers, owing to the complexity of its production. The ancient Greeks were serious party goers, as it is witnessed by this beautiful vessel depicting a symposium scene. Symposium, which literally translates to “to drink together”, was the part of the banquet after the meal, when men would gather and drink for pleasure and entertainment while listening to music, dancing or having conversations. It was a key feature of Hellenic life and symposiums could be held in aristocratic families to debate and plot, simply to revel, or also to celebrate the introduction of young men into society. This kind of gathering could also happen to celebrate a victory in athletic or poetic contests. Symposiasts, the men attending the symposium, would chat, listen to music, enjoy hired entertainment or also play games.

To discover more about Greek black and red figure pottery, please visit our relevant blog post: Black and Red Figure Attic Pottery.

Dimensions H 27 cm



Southern Europe

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