Arte History 101
Ancient Greek Vases
In the Greek geometric period, the black figured funeral vase, showed the design of a dead chariot racer\warrior on his funeral pyre, with his family and friends grieving for him. Like many vases from the geometric period, the people and animals shown in the design were composed of geometric shapes, and the shapes took a predominance over the people. The horses and the chariots give us clues that it was a chariot racer who most likely died, the only way to distinguish the men from the women, are their actions. Scholars believe that the characters who are clutching their heads to be the females, who scratched at their faces and pulled their hair in grieve. It was funeral vase, and was used for funeral ceremonies. Like all the black figured designs, the artists painted the important characters black and later scratched out the details. The pot were made out of clay which was a reddish colour, so when the small details were scratched on to the surface of the pots it created a red background with the characters popping out in black, the borders and other designs were also a reddish colour.
Another black figured vase from the archaic period was the vase of Amphora by Ackekias, which told the myth Achilles and Ajax engaged in a board game. The Amphora portrays the tragic myth of Achilles and Ajax who were beloved cousins. The two cousins playing a game before they went into battle. The pot also shows the winner of the game, Achilles, using speech like details. This also shows the irony of the tale, which Achilles dies in battle and Ajax does not. Ajax later commits suicide because Achilles men didn’t respect him and hated him replacing Achilles. This pot was designed using the black figured style, where the characters and important things were painted black while the rest of the pot stayed the reddish colour of the clay. The designs were scratched out of the black figures, making it stand out. This type of pots had two handles...