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Bloomington 77.30.1

Corinthian Broad-Bottomed Oinochoe with Stopper Corinthian Early Sixth Century B.C.

Lent by the Indiana University Art Museum (77.30.1)

The Vase: H. to top of handle 28.5 cm; W. 26.5 cm; D. of base 26.0 cm; D. of neck 6.1 cm. Narrow-necked type, with plastic collar on neck; broad ribbon handle. Nearly complete. Mended, with small patches and some "painting in" over cracks, but no serious damage; crack under base. Warm yellow-buff clay, paler where untreated (under base, on inner face of handle). Firm black to smoky-brown glaze; rich red, liberally applied; red and white bands within linear polychrome decoration. Inside of mouth irregularly glazed, outside glazed. Neck has red collar and red band below collar, between two tiers of vertical zigzags. Cable pattern, painted, on back of handle. White dot-rosettes on mouth. On body, below neck: wide band of red, then two animal friezes, between them a double row of dicing between polychrome bands (red and white over black); below lower animal frieze, polychrome band, then rays.

Decoration: In animal friezes, reading rightward from handle: Upper: Siren to right, wings raised above back; flying bird to right, between seated Sphinxes with raised sickle-shaped wings, between panthers; standing women to left. Lower: panther facing stag; floral cross between lion and panther; small owl between lion and panther; goat facing lion. Red is freely used for interior details of animals and floral cross. Varied filling ornament, consisting mainly of incised rosettes (eight, six, and four petals; none with centers), "sheaf rosettes," irregular blobs, dots. There are some minor oddities and inconsistencies of rendering. Details of floral pattern are not symmetrical; goat has incised "collar" (two parallel lines, zigzag line between them); paired horizontal strokes often appear on legs of quadrupeds; Sphinxes' wings have incised feathers lying far within black-glazed areas which determine their contours; the two back-to-back lions have intertwined tails, but lion at left has no base to his tail (this area is damaged, but not enough to account for this peculiarity). In both friezes, there is a tendency to crowd the figures, a feature which is cleverly exploited in one instance, where a lion is made to bite into the goat's horn.

There are two distinct types of broad-bottomed oinochoe. One (A) has a broad, short neck and a wide mouth; the other (B) has a tall narrow neck and small mouth, and a plastic "collar" around its neck. (The name "oinochoe" is conventional, and the two types may have been designed for different uses.) The Bloomington oinochoe is of type B. Its fairly steep shoulder and slightly inward-curving lower body allow it to be placed reasonably accurately within the series. Typologically, it is slightly more developed than the Early Corinthian examples which were decorated by the Duel Painter (D. A. Amyx CSCA 2 [1969] pl. 3), the Heraldic Lions Painter (Athens, NM 927, Payne 1931, no. 746, unpublished), and the Royal Library Painter (Prague, University, CSCA 2 [1969] 21, no. 18, unpublished). On the other hand, it is distinctly earlier than any of the large mass of such oinochoai which were produced in the Dodwellian school (see Madison 70.3), and apparently even earlier than the flashy, double-rayed specimen in Taranto by the Nimes Painter (AS Atene 21-22 [1959-60] 135-139 and figs. 111b, 113-114), which must stand at or very near the beginning of Middle Corinthian. On the Bloomington vase, in spite of some early-looking features, such as the two tiers of vertical wavy lines on the neck and the painted guilloche on the handle-back, both of which were already at home in Protocorinthian and tended to die out in Early Corinthian, there are other indications which point to a later date, as was suggested by the shape. The size and number of the base rays, as well as the somewhat slurred rendering of the checkerboard pattern of "dicing" between the two animal friezes are, as is the figure style, indicative of a position on the border-line between Early and Middle Corinthian.

The style, thus far, is uniquely represented on this vase. No other work by this hand has as yet been found. It is, however, a very distinctive style, and attributable pieces, when they do appear, should be easy to recognize. The rendering of the Sphinxes and of the panthers seems to be especially diagnostic. The style is somewhat "wild" and unorthodox, but thoroughly competent. It is coarser and bolder than that of the mature Early Corinthian "refined" practitioners, such as the Royal Library Painter (CSCA 2 [1969] 19-22, List E) and the Heraldic Lions Painter (AJA 70 [1966] 297), but not so rough as that of the Nimes Painter (AJA 65 [1961] 9f). On the bold side of Early Corinthian, there are generic likenesses to the works of such artists as the Walters Painter (Münzen, vol. 26 [October 5, 1963] 32, under no. 65) and the Lowie Painter (D. A. Amyx and P. Lawrence, Corinth VII:2 [Princeton 1975] 27 and 84 f.), but no specifically comparable renderings. Our Painter goes his own way, and he produces highly colorful and attractive results.


Indiana University Art Museum Bulletin I (1977) under "Recent Acquisitions," 46 and 62-63, with illustration.

D.A. Amyx, The University of California, Berkeley

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