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.