Pelike (Storage Jar)

A work made of terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique with touches of paint.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique with touches of paint.

Date:

about 510/500 BC

Artist:

Greek; Athens

About this artwork

This ancient storage vessel is decorated in the black-figure technique, which was developed in Corinth and used widely during the Archaic period (700–480 B.C.). Gloss, a slip made from refined clay, was applied to all areas intended to be black. For the figural scene the silhouettes of the figures and other elements were painted in gloss, sometimes following the lines of a preliminary sketch scratched into the surface. Using a sharp tool, the artist created details by incising through the gloss to the light clay ground below. Colors such as purple-red and white, made from a gloss with mineral pigments, were then added. After a three-stage firing process applying alternately less and more oxygen, the gloss turned black. In its finest form, it was quite shiny. On this vessel, those techniques are used by the artist to create lively scenes in which a woman dances playfully with a drape of fabric, perhaps her cloak. Male musicians accompany her with Greek instruments including a Barbiton (the string instrument which looks like a small harp) and an aulos (the wind instrument shaped like a doubled flute). The inquisitive dog adds to the sense of movement and rhythym within the scene.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 151

Artist

Ancient Greek

Title

Pelike (Storage Jar)

Origin

Greece

Date

510 BC–500 BC

Medium

terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique with touches of paint

Dimensions

H. 34.9 cm (13 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Philip D. Armour and Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number

1889.12

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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