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Durham 1969.4

Attic Black-Figure Oinochoe (White-Ground) Collection of the Duke University Museum of Art, Durham (1969.4) Workshop of the Athena Painter [A. Clark] Ca. 500 B.C. Height: 22 cm. Diameter: 17 cm. Athlete and trainer.

The scene is set in the palestra, despite the vines in the background, which are only a filling ornament typical of this period, rather than an indication of locale. In the center, a well developed young athlete prepares to practice a jump. He holds a pair of bronze jumping weights (halteres). Facing him stands a young man in a tightly wrapped himation, who is probably the trainer who coaches the young jumper. At the left stands a young boy, considerably smaller than the other two. He holds a variety of accoutrements regularly used in the palestra: a strigil, or scraper, a round oil bottle, and a large spotted (hide?) bag for holding equipment. These are all tied to the knotty staff which the boy holds in his right hand. The staff should belong to the trainer and the other equipment to the jumper. Perhaps the boy is a young slave who looks after the paraphernalia of athletes and trainers.

The Duke vase is one of many late black-figure oinochoai produced by the Athena Painter's workshop. A number of these, though by no means all, were decorated in the white-ground technique (compare Sarasota 1600.G5). Among the oinochoai of this workshop Beazley distinguished several classes according to variations in shape. The Duke example, with its short neck and no collar, spreading mouth, round handle, and the figured scene occupying the whole surface, rather than framed in a panel, belongs to the Sèvres Class.


Bibliography

Hesperia Art Bulletin 45/46 (January, 1969) no. A 17; Mertens 1977, 73, no. 68. Sèvres Class: ABV, 524-25.

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