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Cleveland 28.660

Attic Red-Figure Lekythos The Oionokles Painter ca. 480-470 B.C.

Lent by the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Charles W. Harkness Endowment Fund, 1928 (28.660).

The Vase: h. 43.6 cm; d. of lip 7.5 cm; d. of body 14.4 cm; d. of foot 9.5 cm. Broken and repaired. The lekythos has no false interior. It is of standard shape, type 2, with the neck set off from mouth and shoulder by flange and fillet, and a band, tooled above and below, joining body and foot. The side of the disk foot is reserved, and grooved around the upper edge. Inside, the mouth is black. The top of the lip is reserved, the mouth, neck, handle and upper surface of the foot are black.

Decoration: Egg and dot pattern ring the neck. The shoulder floral is reserved: a central pendent palmette, the tendrils bounding it each ending in a single spiral and giving off a lotusbud; tendrils on each side originating near the heart of the central palmette encircle the palmettes in which they terminate. Bands of meander and cross-square bound the picture above and below, each consisting of three stopped meanders to right, interrupted above by two black-filled cross-squares (an extra meander at the right was mostly covered by the black background), below by a dotted saltire-square and a cross-square.

A bearded warrior, his hair braided in back, prepares to cut off a forelock with his sword. In front of him his equipage is piled on and against a folding stool: a shield, seen in three-quarter view so that the inside webbing and tassels show, a spear, leaning in counterpoint to the angle at which the warrior stands, its point cut off by the border, a Thracian helmet set on top of a folded cloak, both laid on top of a cushion covering the seat of the stool. The warrior wears a cuirass with leather flaps over a short, finely pleated chiton, and greaves; his scabbard is slung at his left side from a strap across his body. There is a fillet around his hair, and tassels hanging from the scabbard and lower back edges of his greaves, all done in red paint. Anatomical details are worked on the greaves and on the cuirass, the leather flaps of which are covered with scales. The helmet is decorated with a palmette in front, a lion in black on the cheek-flap and a cross in the neck-piece; the crest is attached to the helmet by a checkered ridge. The cushion on the stool is woven or embroidered with rows of zigzags, the stool itself has animal legs attached to the seat by large bosses decorated with crosses. There is much play of dark and light in the composition. There is relief contour almost everywhere. For a full description, see C. G. Boulter in CVA, from which much of the above is taken.

Identical and meaningless inscriptions are painted in red on each side of the warrior, reading vertically (see CVA).

The Oionokles Painter is called after a kalos name (once read Dionokles) which has so far appeared only on vases by him. He was a follower of the Providence Painter and his extant produce, like that of the Providence Painter and other students and followers of the Berlin Painter, comprises mostly Nolan amphorae and lekythoi (compare St. Louis WU 3271). But there is evidence, in a series of small neck-amphorae, and through the text and handwriting of certain inscriptions, that the Oinokles Painter worked at one time for the same potter as a cup painter who belonged to the circle of the Brygos Painter, the Briseis Painter (Caskey & Beazley, ii, 3 f). Meaningless inscriptions like the ones on the Cleveland lekythos occur on vases by both painters (ibid).

Like the Providence Painter and his fellows, the Oionokles Painter did numerous pursuit scenes, but this quiet scene is his most well-known. It is cited often for the subject matter, which has long been related to fuller pictures showing an episode in the story of the Seven Against Thebes (see also Chicago 1922.2197). The Seven who fought against Thebes are said to have fastened locks of their hair to the chariot of the Argive leader Adrastos before the battle as mementos to be taken back should they perish. Among the vases showing the subject, an inscription on one gives the name of the hair-cutter as Parthenopaios, one of the Seven (son of Atlanta, for whom see Cleveland 66.114). There is only one other painting, like this, with the single figure of a hair-cutter, a white ground lekythos in New York by the Painter of the Yale Lekythos ARV2, 660, no. 71). The New York warrior, like the Cleveland one, has a Thracian helmet. Both have been identified with, at least shown to have been inspired by, representations of Parthenopaios.

C. G. Boulter (CVA) has given a number of interesting parallels for representations of folded cloaks like the one here, and has noted the elaborate webbing inside the shield, and the triangle of St. Andrews crosses made by the fastenings of the stool together with the one on the neck-guard of the helmet (an echo of which may perhaps be seen in the crossed fastenings of the scabbard). The warrior's braided hair was fashionable in the art of the time. It is shown often in vase-paintings, for example on the name-piece of the Achilles Painter (ARV2, 987, no. 1), and on sculpture of the period, such as the so-called Blond Boy, of which type there is a marble head in The Cleveland Museum of Art (Ridgway 1970, 59).

Compare this lekythos and the red-figure one by Douris, Cleveland 78.59, also from Cleveland. They are nearly contemporary, and of the same shape type, though there are differences in proportion and subsidiary decoration. Both show a similar interest in details of armor, in perspective, and in the contrast of light and dark areas. The Oionokles Painter has employed the same sort of detailing on clothing and armor in his rendering of a Persian warrior on a Nolan amphora (Berlin F 2331, ARV2, 646, no. 7).

For a discussion of haircutting scenes, a list of such, and further bibliography, see Dusenbery, infra, p. 227ff. The shoulder floral, common on red-figure lekythoi, is designated "type IB" and described by Kurtz 1975, 33.


Beazley 1933a, 28, no. 79; Haspels 1936, 73f; ARV1, 439, no. 32; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Classical Art, Handbook (1961) pl. 6 (cover); ARV2, 648, no. 37; Caskey & Beazley, iii 40; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Handbook (1966) 20; ASCSA 1971, no. 35; CVA, USA 15, Cleveland I, pl. 31 and pp. 2off; J. Boardman, "Heroic Haircuts," Classical Quarterly 23 (1973) 196, n. 5; Kunisch, "Parthenopaios" AntK 17(1974) 39 and pl. 8, 1; F. Brommer in Gnomon 46(1974) 427 (on provenance); K. Schefold, "Sophokles' Aias auf einer Lekythos," AntK 19(1976) 75; E.B. Dusenbery, "Two Attic Red-figured Kraters in Samothrace," Hesperia 47 (1978) 228, n. 55; Boardman 1975, p. 195, fig. 361.


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