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Scenes of Daily Life: Symposium

The representations of participants in sacrifices, rituals, departures, and competitions already described are only part of a large corpus of scenes of daily life that occur on Polygnotan vases. Scenes from symposia are less frequent than during the Archaic period, perhaps because these are pot painters rather than painters of cups. The popular Dionysiac subjects, however, may have been suitable for the symposion as well as for the tomb. Komos scenes are far more common among the Polygnotans, and they are often associated with Dionysiac subjects on individual vases. The Polygnotan komos features both youths and their bearded elders and often includes music in the form of flutes and lyres. Many of the komasts' poses are reminiscent of dance. A bell krater by the Christie Painter in the Harvard collection (Harvard 1970.108;




1 is a typical example, its torch-bearing komast responding with a dance pose to the flute player beside him. Similar is another bell krater by the same hand in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu 71.AE.250).2 Occasionally satyrs and maenads are shown in komos-like scenes, as on a bell krater by an unnamed Polygnotan in London (London E 462),3 and once Herakles performs as a komast, playing the flutes for two satyrs on a stamnos in Florence by Polygnotos that has been associated with a satyr play (Florence 4227).4

1 Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Art Museums 1970.108; ARV2, 1047, 20; Beazley Addenda 2, 321; ; E. H. Dohan, "A Bell-Krater by the Christie Painter," The University Museum Bulletin, 6 (1936) 126-8, no. 4; Buitron 1972, 128-9, no. 71.

2 ARV2, 1047, no. 24; Beazley Addenda 2, 321; Boardman 1989, fig. 154.

3 ARV2, 1057, no. 103; Beazley Addenda 2, 323.

4 ARV2, 1028, no. 11; CVA, Florence 2 (Italy 13) pls. 54 and 47, 5 (now cleaned); LIMC, IV, 814, pl. 542, Herakles no. 1477. On the association of this vase with a satyr play, see Brommer (supra n. 40) 77.

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