CULTURE: Greek, Attica
PERIOD: Circa 490 - 480 BC
AUTHOR: Attributed to the Mikra Karaburun group
DIMENSIONS: Height 39 cm; diameter 37 cm.
PRICE: 15,000 €
PROVENANCE: Private collection of A. Alonso, Salamanca. Formed between the years 1960 and 1980. Acquired in an English collection.
EXHIBITIONS: Slight repairs to the mouth, cracks from firing and few imperfections. The body of the krater is preserved intact.
A pottery column-krater vase with scenes on both sides of the body. On the obverse we find two figures reclining on a bed. Both are wearing robes from which protrude arms and the heads. These are painted white in the case of the woman. A tree with fruit painted in white can be seen in the background. The scene is framed by two black cylindrical walls that incline inwards toward the figures. On the sides of the vase, just under each handle, an eye with an eyebrow has been drawn. These have been incised with a compass cutter, then painted with black varnish and white paint. On the reverse side of the vase we find an ox, depicted in motion with incised anatomical details and details under the belly painted in white.
The base of the vase has been decorated with black paint in horizontal bands and geometric forms, as has the rim of the vase and its underside. The inside of the base has also been painted black.
The krater is a type of Greek pottery used to mix water and wine and from which cups were filled. It was moved to the space were a meal was to be eaten and was placed either on the ground or on a dais and the steward in charge of drawing the wine used a ladle to pour it into the guests cups. Kraters were mostly ceramic but some were made from precious metals, and were made in a variety of shapes according to the taste of the artist, although they did always have a wide mouth. The mostly widely occurring ones are column kraters, calyx kraters, bell kraters and volute ones.
The technique of black-figure painting was based on the use of a transparent slip which, on firing, acquired an intense brilliant black tone. As the motifs were not visible before the firing, the painters had to work completely from memory without seeing their earlier work. When the piece was fired the zones not covered by the glossy slip maintained the reddish tone of the clay vessel while the glazed, "painted" areas took on a dense and brilliant black tone. The black-figure technique was introduced into Corinth around 700 BC and was adopted by Attic artists in the orientalizing period (725-625 BC). At that time the great series of black-figure vase painting began which had its main centre in Athens and continued until the beginning of the 5th Century BC.