Late Period

Douris' drawing style does not develop in new directions in the Late Period. He had achieved the height of his style in the Middle Period, the perfect blend of grace and ease, the attainment, on some cups, of a 'classic' spirit. Douris continues to make use of many of the same forms, but his inspiration seems diminished. Nevertheless, he is still capable of charm, and occasional surprises, such as the unusual number of new vase shapes that he decorates at this time: pyxides, rhyta, and an oinochoe.

The transition to the Late Period is gradual. Signatures, which had become less frequent through the Middle Period, now cease altogether. Kalos names become rare, but three are present: Hiketes, Polyphrasmon and Leosthenes. The favorite border, which had already made an appearance in the later Middle Period, consists of cross-squares alternating with meander pairs. Handle palmettes now sprout extra buds, leaves and tendrils, a trend also started in the Middle Period. Douris sometimes adds extra buds, leaves and tendrils to the figured compositions as well. The continuity of style and ornament from the Middle to Late Period is consistent with Douris' steady relationship with the potter Python, who made most of the preserved, complete cups in this groups including a large number decorated on the inside only.

A cup in Munich (Munich 2646;


) falls early in the sequence. The symposion in the tondo shows a youthful musician with a flute accompanying a singer holding a stemless cup in one hand; the words of a drinking song emanate from his mouth: ΟΨ ΔΨΝΑΜΟΨ, "I cannot...," which has been connected with the beginning of a drinking song by Theognis.1

One exterior picture on the Munich cup shows Herakles attacking his music teacher Linos who, according to the mythological tradition, had struck him. Linos stretches out his left arm in supplication and, in a dramatic gesture, throws up his right arm holding his lyre. The sturdy, youthful hero, characterized by his fierce, round eye, recalls earlier versions of Herakles by Douris, but the pose of the figure on the Munich cup seems frozen in comparison. Herakles' weapon is the broken stool he or Linos was sitting on, the rest of which is shown on the ground behind the fleeing youths.

The other exterior picture on the Munich cup shows a courting scene, three pairs of men and youths conversing, the pair in the center raising their hands in a rhetorical gesture.2 A palaestra setting is suggested by the strigil and athletic equipment carried by the man in the center.

Douris' delight and skill in drawing komasts persists. The tondo of another cup in Munich (Munich 2647;


) shows two komasts, one in 'Anacreontic' dress, holding drinking cups and a wine amphora as they dance. On the exterior, Dionysos, satyrs and maenads cavort. Dionysos holds a kantharos above the head of the satyr in the center of side A, as if he is about to balance it on his head. The maenads have made wing sleeves like those on the Middle Period cup in Boston (Boston 00.499; CB no. 129; see above), but their dress is less realistic; their breasts are emphasized by short converging lines that interrupt the vertical folds. On both sides of this cup a satyr closes in on a maenad, one leg raised. On side B he has her between his legs but on side A she has eluded him, and though he grasps her arm, his legs do not trap her. This satyr is infibulated, while the others have no visible erection. The ithyphallic satyr in the tondo of a cup in Boston (Boston 00.343; CB no. 132;


) has progressed beyond this preliminary attack and has his leg well hooked around the tall maenad's hips. Two other satyrs, both infibulated, cavort beside the struggling pair. Rather than the usual exergue, Douris draws a wavy line to indicate the wild country where satyrs and maenads live.

In the tondo of a cup in Baltimore (Baltimore, Hopkins AIA B9;


), Hermes shows a boy how to spin a top, and the poses of the figures reflect the turn of the top. The connection of Hermes with this toy is attested on other vases, as well as in a verse from the Palatine Anthology.3

A scene of love-making appears on a cup in Boston (Boston 1970.233;

). Beazley questioned whether this cup was not a school piece, and though the symplegma portrayed is without parallel in Douris' work, the drawing, especially that of the man's stomach, is quite characteristic of Douris himself.4

A lion head rhyton in Paris (Louvre MNB 1294 or Louvre H 65;


) is one of the five rhyta decorated by Douris during his Late Period. Four of these, two with lion heads and two with vulture heads, are placed together by Herbert Hoffmann in a class named after the artist, the 'Dourian' Class. These rhyta are unusual in two respects: the choice of creatures, lions and vultures are rare; and the shape, the painted bowl, dominates the mold-made part. The lion head in Paris and another in London (London E 796; ARV1, 445, 258) were made in the same mold. Hoffmann noted that the mold appears to have been borrowed from a group of black-figure, one-handled kantharoi of the late sixth century on which similar lion heads of approximately the same size decorate the juncture of the handle rim.5 The bowls of the lion head rhyta provide a large field for painted decoration. On the Paris rhyton there is a tongue pattern around the rim and as a base ornament. Ornamental borders also divide the bowl into three distinct sections. Alternating black and white lozenges decorate the main central area opposite the handle and above the animal's forehead. The two sides show komasts making for the center, framed on the handle side by a meander border.

Most of the subjects represented in the Late Period belong to well-established compositional types. Exceptions are the tondos with Hermes and the top, and the scenes of love-making. Little development in new directions is apparent in the Late Period, except in the production of different shapes such as the rhyta. Douris' drawing style is always competent and neat, but it often seems to have lost the vigor and charm of previous periods.

1 Hartwig 1893, 258, note 8; for the line from Theognis see Loeb Classical Library, Elegy and Iambus I vv. 939-942.

2 See Neumann 1965, 11.

3 Palatine Anthology VI, 309, third century B.C. Loeb Classical Library I p. 467; on tops see A.D. Trendall and G. Schneider-Hermann, "Eros with a Whipping-top on an Apulian Pelike," BABesch 50 (1975) 269; and D.W. Gould, "The Uncertain Fate of a Princely Diversion," Expedition (1980) 43-7.

4 On the subject see Johns 1982; and Keuls 1985.

5 Hoffmann 1962, 13-15.

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