Euthymides Belly Amphora White text: p.43-44 Black text: p.45-48
Euthymides means “Good spirit”. He was a contemporary of Euphronios, and another member of the Pioneer group.
He and Euphronios were friends and rivals, it seems. He may have been slightly younger, but he was not an imitator. He was as good as Euphronios at composition, and his style of decoration is subtly different.
He used dilute glaze more to show anatomical details,
he made more inscriptions,
his figures are heavier than Euphronios’,
his figures rarely have eyelashes or loose ringlets, and have simpler ears, long flat feet, and rubbery fingers.
Euthymides signed only 6 vases, but he seems to have preferred belly amphorae .
Shape: Belly Amphora
Function: Storage of wine, oil or honey
Date: c.510-500 BC
Dimensions Height: 60cm Diameter of neck: 29.7cm
All the figures on the vase are named
Euthymides signs himself seven times, including three times as “Euthymides, son of Pollias the sculptor”
He also named several contemporaries on the vase, including Megakles, who was, apparently, “beautiful”.
Finally, Euthymides also adds “As never Euphronios”, a sign of a friendly rivalry.
Hector, son of King Priam of Troy, was the greatest of the Trojan warriors. He led the Trojans in the Trojan War, since Priam was too old to fight.
Hector killed Patroclus, and Achilles met Hector in a crucial scene in “The Iliad”. Achilles killed Hector before dragging his body from the back of his chariot around Patroclus’ tomb, every day for 12 days. With Hector’s death, the fall of Troy was close at hand.
The mood of this frieze is sombre, as Hector says goodbye to his parents
Priam, an aged figure with a bald head and a stubbly beard, is wrapped up in a cloak. He leans on a knobbled stick with his left hand, and seems to be gesturing to Hector with his right.
The Trojan hero, Hector, is in the centre of the frieze, preparing himself for the battle with Achilles. He is putting on his leather corselet. He already wears his metal greaves His shield is shown leaning up against his mother
Queen Hecuba stands at the right of the frieze, holding Hector’s spear . She holds Hector’s helmet ready above his head
There is a mixture of stiff, unrealistic-looking drapery, and loose, flowing folds in light cloth.
The stiff folds at the back of Priam’s cloak. The loose folds in Hecuba’s chiton and himation.
Hector’s pose still looks unrealistic and awkward, but Euthymides is experimenting with foreshortening, and mixing frontal with profile figures.
Hector’s body is painted in frontal view. This means his left foot has to be foreshortened. However, his head and his right leg are shown in profile.
This palmette decorative band runs around the top of the frieze, but is interrupted by Hector’s raised helmet. This shows Euthymides’ skill in composition.
The mood of this frieze is happy, as 3 drunken revellers return from the symposium Komachos Euedemos Teles
The drapery on these figures is purely decorative. The folds of the cloth hang loose, in zigzag folds.
Teles is frontal with a face in profile
Komarchos stands in profile with ¾ torso Euedemos has profile right leg, ¾ buttocks, profile shoulders and face – not a stationary position
Composition The main friezes are bordered on all sides: Enclosed red-figure palmettes Linked black-figure pomegranates Stylised black-figure buds Ray bands around the base Handles are decorated with ivy leaves Euedemos’ walking stick interrupts the upper border
Both sides of the vase show 3 figures, a composition typical for Euthymides. This provides a balance on both friezes, but also allows him to contrast different poses on either side.
The borders of the frieze follow the contours of the shoulder of the vase, and line up with the handles.
This is a Red-Figure vase, so details are painted on, not incised. This allows the artist to show more complex poses and a more realistic scene is possible.
Euthymides uses dilute slip to show the muscle groups. He even uses dark slip for major muscles, and lighter slip for small ones. The accuracy shown here suggests he actually observed live models. This was new!
Limitations to Realism
There is no attempt at background, just black glaze.
The figures stand on a single groundline, giving no depth.
Red figure is far more capable of giving an illusion of volume and depth than the flat silhouette of black figure, yet Euthymides does not exploit this.