|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.
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
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.
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.
Gift of Harlan E. Moore.
For the Berlin Painter see Beazley,
JHS 31 (1911) 276-295 AJA 49 (1945) 491-502 BCH 86 (1962) 64-94