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Main panel at center

Collection: Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois
Summary: Youth with drinking cup followed by man playing flute.
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to a follower of the Berlin Painter
Date: ca. 475 BC

h. 21.5 cm; d. 17.0 cm.

Primary Citation: Moon 1979, no. 92, pp. 160-161
Shape: Oinochoe
Beazley Number: 5158
Period: Late Archaic

Decoration Description:

Upper panel border alternating palmettes and lotus flowers; lower border meander broken by squares with crosses; side border narrow reserved lines. Volute with spreading tendrils on top of handle, band of tongues beneath; volute at base of handle. Incised line at junction of foot and body and near lower edge of foot. Interior lines in slight relief.

Two figures walk toward the right, a bearded man playing a double flute (aulos) and a youth holding a drinking cup and a gnarled stick. The slender bodies have a light, elastic quality, and a sense of easy walking movement is suggested by the trailing foot on tiptoe. The aulist is in pure profile, but the youth turns back to face him, his upper body in three-quarter view. Both wear only a chlamys, the folds shown in straight, almost parallel lines and the edges in a sharp zigzag. On the youth's chest the sternum is marked by a double line, an unusual feature, and the line of his left pectoral muscle swings into the upper arm. His torso has other anatomical details in very faint lines; the linea alba, interrupted by two diamond shapes, and the serratus magnus, in a series of curves resembling stitching. Other anatomical details are few: genitals with the pubic hair in the form of a cross, angled lines at the knees, and cursory marks for the ankle bones. Both men have short hair edged with a series of dots, and parted to show the small C-shaped ears; the aulist's wavy beard and a suggestion of sideburns on the youth seem to be dry-brushed. While the aulist's eye is drawn frontally, that of the youth is in profile

The walking figures form an open composition: the youth's turned head and the extended aulos serve to connect the figures. The bodies are well-spaced, and the general verticality of the composition is varied by the extended arms of the aulist and the diagonal line of the youth's stick. While the first impression of the well-knit and graceful figures is very pleasing, closer inspection shows that the work is inept in several ways. The lines are frequently faltering and even broken, the hands are awkward, and the lower legs and feet are badly contoured.

Identification of the subject is not easy. Wine-drinking and music are a normal part of the komos or revel scenes frequently depicted on red-figure vases. The theme may be derived ultimately from the Dionysiac revels of satyrs and maenads, but probably most are merely human activities — part of the trend toward scenes of daily life and away from the mythological emphasis of the black-figure style. Certainly the subject is appropriate for wine cups and pitchers. However, the komos scenes almost always show much more exuberant figures than this rather sedate pair. In view of the disparity in age, the vase might allude to the homosexual fondness of mature Greek men for young boys, yet the scene scarcely looks like a seduction. Connection with the komos seems more likely, the quietness perhaps a reflection of the Berlin Painter's disinclination to portray highly dynamic scenes.

Certainly the artist of the Krannert oinochoe was strongly influenced by the Berlin Painter (see Ann Arbor 77.7.1). The slender, springy figures are one of his most prominent characteristics, unmatched by any other Greek painter, and numerous details such as the torso muscles of the youth, the unedged lips, the arc of the nostril, the forms of eyes, ears, and genitals can also be paralleled in the work of the master. However, the mediocre quality of the draftsmanship and the lack of such characteristic features as hooked clavicles, the marking of the great trochanter muscle on the buttocks, and the double curve of the ankle bone, make it clear that the vase cannot be attributed to the Berlin Painter himself. His two chief followers were Hermonax and the Providence Painter, but the Krannert oinochoe does not fit well in the oeuvre of either man. Hermonax prefers fully-draped figures in which the folds are drawn in curving lines, and his figures never have the elastic quality seen here. The Providence Painter uses much heavier bodies, which tend to be either completely static or to have very mannered poses. One must assume this to be the work of an unknown follower of the Berlin Painter.

The dating is also difficult. The Berlin Painter's career is thought to have lasted from the late sixth century into the seventies of the fifth century, and his followers continue still later. Some elements of the Krannert oinochoe, such as the profile eye of the youth, the double line of the sternum, and the upper border design with the strongly curved leaves framing the palmettes, suggest the Early Classical phase of Attic red-figure, generally considered to begin c. 480 B.C., so a date around the end of the Berlin Painter's career is plausible.

Shape Description:

The one-piece oinochoe has a markedly bulging body, a short neck flaring to the rim, and a low echinus foot; the top of the ridged handle is flush with the mouth. This shape is often called a chous to differentiate it from the shouldered oinochoe; it is a common red-figure form from the late sixth through the fifth century.


Moon No. 92

Collection History:

Gift of Harlan E. Moore.

Sources Used:

Moon 1979, no. 92, pp. 160-161

Other Bibliography:

For the Berlin Painter see Beazley, ARV2, 196-214, and his discussions in JHS 31 (1911) 276-295, and Beazley 1930. For the work of Hermonax, see ARV2, 483-492; F. P. Johnson, AJA 49 (1945) 491-502, and 51 (1947) 233-247; N. Weill, BCH 86 (1962) 64-94. For the Providence Painter,ARV2, 635-644. More typical scenes of revel are found in Arias & Hirmer 1962, pls. 132 (Makron), 135 and 138 (Brygos Painter), 148 (Douris), and 165 (Pan Painter). Additional bibliography, Ann Arbor 77.7.1.