Worcester 1900.65WHITE-GROUND LEKYTHOS
Lent by the Worcester Art Museum; gift of Mary Felton Sargent in memory of Mary S. Felton (1900.65)
Height: 13 3/16 in. (33.4 cm.)
Broken and repaired; missing pieces restored and painted.
Mistress and maid. On the right stands a woman in a chiton with kolpos overfold, holding her grave gift, a toilet vase (plemochoe) in one hand. Her maid approaches, in a sleeveless chiton with kolpos overfold, carrying a basket with three handles filled with fillets. Behind her a small oinochoe is suspended. Inscribed between them, ΥΓΙΑΙΟΝ ΚΑΛΟΣ (Hygiainon is beautiful). Above, alternating leftward and rightward triple meanders alternating with saltires; on the shoulder, palmettes and volutes; at the neck, egg pattern.
Attributed to the Achilles Painter [Beazley] ca. 450 - 440 B. C. White-ground lekythoi were produced in Athens from the late sixth century on; only towards the mid-fifth century, however, did they acquire an iconography directly reflecting their use in funerary rites and as offerings at the grave. This lekythos shows one of the most common subjects, two women, a lady and her maid, carrying gifts to a grave. The Achilles Painter, a pupil of the Berlin Painter (cf Buitron 1972, no. 38) exerted a decisive influence on the development of white lekythoi; he seems to have established the canonical design, and he infused his figures with a combination of solemnity and grace. The Worcester lekythos illustrates the technique favored by the Achilles Painter on all but his very latest works. The drawing is in dilute glaze; the colors, including the second white, are ceramic and were applied before the vase was fired. The technique of white lekythoi changed with the Achilles Painter's successors, for the ground tends to become brighter and powdery, the lines and color become matte, and the second white occurs not only for accessories but also for female flesh (see RISD 25.082).