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Full view depicting old man in cloak with stick: AIC_.E27009.TIF

Achilles Painter
(Mediterranean, Greek; fl. c.450-420 B.C. Early Western World, Ancient Mediterranean, Ancient)

Greek
(Mediterranean, Ancient Greece, Early Western World, Ancient Mediterranean, Ancient)

Lekythos (Oil Bottle) (preferred title), High Classical Period (450/440 B.C.)
H.: 30.8 cm (12-1/8 in.); Diam. at shoulder: 9.8 cm (3-7/8 in.)
Earthenware, white-ground technique

Subject matter:
Lekythoi were favored gifts for male burials, since they were popular as containers of the oil with which young athletes cleaned themselves. This lekythos is quite typical, showing a farewell scene on the main frieze. The older man (with stick and cloak) salutes the departed youth, a warrior, who holds his spear proudly. Some of the washes of color added to the garment have faded away. This vase has the distinction of having been painted by a leading exponent of red-figure painting, the Achilles Painter (named for his depiction of Achilles on an amphora in the Vatican Museum), who also tried his hand at the white-ground technique.

Context:
Baked clay vessels decorated with mythological and genre scenes were used by Greeks as dinner party ware, prizes, gifts, and grave offerings. During the High Classical Period Athens was the leading center in vase production, as well as the intellectual and political leader of the Greek mainland and the Ionian coast. Philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, and the politician Pericles worked at this time in the city that was restoring the ruined Acropolis with building such as the Parthenon.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
No. 1907.20
The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Index terms
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Vessel
European Decorative arts
Ancient art


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