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White-Ground Vases

So far we have only considered the red-figure vases by the artist, but he is best known for his white-ground lekythoi which comprise about half his oeuvre. They start a little later than the red-figure vases, the earliest coming from the decade 460-450 B.C., but last longer, continuing into the early 420s. At first Beazley and others did not see the connection of the earliest with the artist, since among other things the figures are stiff and second white is used for the flesh.1 Almost all the Achilles Painter's Early white-ground lekythoi have a scene with two women, termed by Beazley 'mistress and maid.' A recent attempt to see all of them as connected with bridal preparations is unconvincing,2 since the circumstances for the setting and the identities of the two women vary, and some are clearly connected with funerary rites.

1 Luce 1919, 19-32 was the first to see that they were by the Achilles Painter. Beazley in VP 49-50 and 80 in 1928 accepted his conclusions.

2 J. R. Reilly, "Many Brides: "Mistress and Maid" on Athenian Lekythoi," Hesperia 58 (1989) 411-44.

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