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The Group

The workshop structure of the Group of Polygnotos was apparently complex, and as Beazley admitted, the boundaries defining individual hands in this Group are often hard to delineate.1 The large number of vases that Beazley called "Group of Polygnotos, undetermined" can be viewed as a reflection of this difficulty and perhaps as evidence for a broader Polygnotan style that may exceed the specific parameters of a workshop. Associations between the Polygnotan Group and other painters outside it have also been traced through similarities of ornament and potting, and further connections have been derived from inscriptions.2 Archaeological evidence has suggested some chronological relationships as well.3 Within the workshop, developments in the potting of stamnoi, for example, suggest relationships among painters of these vases that confirm associations suggested by painting style.4

As defined by Beazley, the Group of Polygnotos does have a convincing homogeneity. The Group concentrated on large pots, although almost every common shape was decorated at least once, and Polygnotan painters did manifest certain preferences for subject matter, although the variety of subjects that they represented was extensive. In spite of its size, the Group does have an underlying stylistic consistency that keeps it distinct from contemporary vase painting workshops.

The Polygnotos who is the eponymous leader of the Group was one of three painters who signed this name on vases. J.D. Beazley recognized that the other two, whom he named the Lewis Painter5 and the Nausicaa Painter,6 were distinct both from each other and from Polygnotos I, as Beazley called him, and because he was the most important and prolific of the three, it is Polygnotos I to whom Beazley and others refer when using the name.

1 ARV2, 1027; see further Martin Robertson, Beazley Addenda 2, xvi-xvii, on Beazley's use of the terms "group" and "workshop."

2 Philippaki 1967, 151

3 For example, a neck amphora by Polygnotos and a hydria by the Coghill Painter found together in the same Capua tomb with three vases by the Niobid Painter and one by the Painter of the Berlin Hydria; see J.D. Beazley, "The Brygos Tomb at Capua," AJA 49 (1945) 154-55; Capua Group III, with additions by D.J.R. Williams, "The Brygos Tomb Reassembled and 19th-Century Commerce in Capuan Antiquities," AJA 96 (1992) 621-22; additional evidence comes from other Capuan tombs and from tombs at Spina.

4 Philippaki 1967, 123-47, 151-52.

5 An Early Classical painter of skyphoi, also called "Polygnotos II" by Beazley, ARV2, 972-79.

6 A "Later Mannerist": ARV2, 1106-11.

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