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The Workshop of the Achilles Painter

The Achilles Painter took over the Berlin Painter's workshop ca. 460 B.C. and was joined ca. 450 B.C. by his most prolific student, the Phiale Painter, who is named after a vase of this shape in Boston (Boston 97.371; CB no. 62;


) These two major painters were the key artists in one of the two most important classical workshops. They preferred to produce small and mid-sized vases, such as Nolan amphorai and lekythoi; the other, the Polygnotan, favored large vases such as stamnoi and kraters. Several minor artists also worked for a time in the Achilles Painter-Phiale Painter's workshop, including the Westreenen Painter, the Dwarf Painter, the Persephone Painter, the Clio Painter, and the Loeb Painter, as did several other major painters for parts of their career, such as the Sabouroff Painter, the Painter of Munich 2335, and the Kleophon Painter.1

The Phiale Painter2 derived several of his scenes from the Achilles Painter and depicted a fair number of pursuit scenes, the staple product of their tradition. A good example is a Nolan amphora at Yale with a youth pursuing a woman (Yale 1913.134;


).3 But the Phiale Painter was very much his own man, and developed his own specialties, such as scenes of dancing girls with their mistress, as on a lekythos in Bowdoin College (Bowdoin 1913.11).4 Still most of his vases are connected by both shape and ornament to the workshop. Note the ULFA pattern on the Nolan amphora at Yale, for example.

Other painters in the workshop, including the Westreenen Painter, were greatly influenced by the Achilles Painter. Compare the rider on his pelike in Tampa (Tampa 86.64;

5 with the one on the earlier lekythos by the Achilles Painter in Philadelphia (

) that we looked at before. Still other vases which clearly were made in the workshop either imitate or are influenced by the style of the Achilles Painter. A good example of the latter is a lekythos in Kansas City with Eos pursuing a boy with a lyre, who is usually identified as Tithonos (Kansas City 33.3/2;



). Although one of the Achilles Painter's favorite scenes, the style of drawing — note the details of the face, drapery, etc. — is not that of the Achilles Painter. The shape and shoulder ornament, however, are Achillean.

1 Oakley 1990, 47-57 for an outline of the workshop. It will be more fully reconstructed in Oakley (supra n. 1).

2 See Oakley (supra n. 32) for the painter.

3 ARV2, 1015, 13; Beazley Addenda 2, 315.

4 ARV2, 1021, 118; Para., 441; Beazley Addenda 2, 316.

5 ARV2, 1006, 2; Para., 439; Beazley Addenda 2, 314.

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