front cover of The Codrus Painter
The Codrus Painter
Iconography and Reception of Athenian Vases in the Age of Pericles
Amalia Avramidou
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

The Codrus Painter was a painter of cups and vases in fifth-century B.C.E. Athens with a distinctive style; he is named after Codrus, a legendary Athenian king depicted on one of his most characteristic vases. He was active as an artist during the rule of Pericles, as the Parthenon was built and then as the troubled times of the Peloponnesian War began. In contrast to the work of fellow artists of his day, the vases of the Codrus Painter appear to have been created almost exclusively for export to markets outside Athens and Greece, especially to the Etruscans in central Italy and to points further west.
    Amalia Avramidou offers a thoroughly researched, amply illustrated study of the Codrus Painter that also comments on the mythology, religion, arts, athletics, and daily life of Greece depicted on his vases. She evaluates his style and the defining characteristics of his own hand and of the minor painters associated with him. Examining the subject matter, figure types, and motifs on the vases, she compares them with sculptural works produced during the same period. Avramidou’s iconographic analysis not only encompasses the cultural milieu of the Athenian metropolis, but also offers an original and intriguing perspective on the adoption, meaning, and use of imported Attic vases among the Etruscans.


front cover of A Guide to Scenes of Daily Life on Athenian Vases
A Guide to Scenes of Daily Life on Athenian Vases
John H. Oakley
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Painted vases are the richest and most complex images that remain from ancient Greece. Over the past decades, a great deal has been written on ancient art that portrays myths and rituals. Less has been written on scenes of daily life, and what has been written has been tucked away in hard-to-find books and journals. A Guide to Scenes of Daily Life on Athenian Vases synthesizes this material and expands it: it is the first comprehensive volume to present visual representations of everything from pets and children's games to drunken revelry and funerary rituals.
John H. Oakley's clear, accessible writing provides sound information with just the right amount of detail. Specialists of Greek art will welcome this book for its text and illustrations. This guide is an essential and much-needed reference for scholars and an ideal sourcebook for classics and art history.

front cover of Image and Myth
Image and Myth
A History of Pictorial Narration in Greek Art
Luca Giuliani
University of Chicago Press, 2013
On museum visits, we pass by beautiful, well-preserved vases from ancient Greece—but how often do we understand what the images on them depict? In Image and Myth, Luca Giuliani tells the stories behind the pictures, exploring how artists of antiquity had to determine which motifs or historical and mythic events to use to tell an underlying story while also keeping in mind the tastes and expectations of paying clients.
Covering the range of Greek style and its growth between the early Archaic and Hellenistic periods, Giuliani describes the intellectual, social, and artistic contexts in which the images were created. He reveals that developments in Greek vase painting were driven as much by the times as they were by tradition—the better-known the story, the less leeway the artists had in interpreting it. As literary culture transformed from an oral tradition, in which stories were always in flux, to the stability of written texts, the images produced by artists eventually became nothing more than illustrations of canonical works. At once a work of cultural and art history, Image and Myth builds a new way of understanding the visual culture of ancient Greece.

front cover of The Sarpedon Krater
The Sarpedon Krater
The Life and Afterlife of a Greek Vase
Nigel Spivey
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Perhaps the most spectacular of all Greek vases, the Sarpedon krater depicts the body of Sarpedon, a hero of the Trojan War, being carried away to his homeland for burial. It was decorated some 2,500 years ago by Athenian artist Euphronios, and its subsequent history involves tomb raiding, intrigue, duplicity, litigation, international outrage, and possibly even homicide. How this came about is told by Nigel Spivey in a concise, stylish book that braids together the creation and adventures of this extraordinary object with an exploration of its abiding influence.
Spivey takes the reader on a dramatic journey, beginning with the krater’s looting from an Etruscan tomb in 1971 and its acquisition by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, followed by a high-profile lawsuit over its status and its eventual return to Italy. He explains where, how, and why the vase was produced, retrieving what we know about the life and legend of Sarpedon. Spivey also pursues the figural motif of the slain Sarpedon portrayed on the vase and traces how this motif became a standard way of representing the dead and dying in Western art, especially during the Renaissance.

Fascinating and informative, The Sarpedon Krater is a multifaceted introduction to the enduring influence of Greek art on the world.

front cover of Tan Men/Pale Women
Tan Men/Pale Women
Color and Gender in Archaic Greece and Egypt, a Comparative Approach
Mary Ann Eaverly
University of Michigan Press, 2013

One of the most obvious stylistic features of Athenian black-figure vase painting is the use of color to differentiate women from men. By comparing ancient art in Egypt and Greece, Tan Men/Pale Women uncovers the complex history behind the use of color to distinguish between genders, without focusing on race. Author Mary Ann Eaverly considers the significance of this overlooked aspect of ancient art as an indicator of underlying societal ideals about the role and status of women. Such a commonplace method of gender differentiation proved to be a complex and multivalent method for expressing ideas about the relationship between men and women, a method flexible enough to encompass differing worldviews of Pharaonic Egypt and Archaic Greece. Does the standard indoor/outdoor explanation—women are light because they stay indoors—hold true everywhere, or even, in fact, in Greece? How “natural” is color-based gender differentiation, and, more critically, what relationship does color-based gender differentiation have to views about women and the construction of gender identity in the ancient societies that use it?

The depiction of dark men and light women can, as in Egypt, symbolize reconcilable opposites and, as in Greece, seemingly irreconcilable opposites where women are regarded as a distinct species from men. Eaverly challenges traditional ideas about color and gender in ancient Greek painting, reveals an important strategy used by Egyptian artists to support pharaonic ideology and the role of women as complementary opposites to men, and demonstrates that rather than representing an actual difference, skin color marks a society’s ideological view of the varied roles of male and female.


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter