This is typical of his style – single figures against a totally black background.
The krater is so large it would have taken 2 slaves to carry it!
This has no mythical background – it is not a scene from the iliad
The fight scene is frozen – emphasis is on the pose of the warriors as they prepare to strike, not on the clash itself. Both warriors are nude – customary way to show heroic status – also chance to show skill at depicting musculature
Use of hand gestures here is a method of telling story
Hector appears to be stumbling backwards – left hand behind as if to stop him falling backwards?
Th Berin e l PainterWhite text: p.54-55Black text: p.69-73
The Berlin Painter The Berlin Painter never signed his name. He is named after an amphora which was found in Berlin. He worked in Athens around 500 BC. Along with the Kleophrades Painter he was one of the most important Red- Figure artists of the period. His vases show a high degree of artistic skill. His figures are delicate and accurate.
Shape: Volute kraterFunction: mixing wine and water.Painter: Berlin Painter (attributed)Potter: unknownTechnique: red figureDate: c.500 - 480 B.C
Inscriptions The figures have their names painted beside them. Neither the potter nor the painter signed their names.
Decor Over ation viewOne of the artist’s favourite compositions was spotlighting a single figure against a blackbackground with no framing panel. In this way they appear light and graceful, as if floatingon the vase.There is no decoration on the body of the vase, except for a coating of shiny black glazeand a band of stylised rays at the base of the belly.
Decoration Overview This vase (like t he Kleophr ades Paint er ’s Hydr ia) is a r ever sal of t he maj or vase decor at ing t r end – no decor at ion on t he body, and all t he act ion ar ound t he neck. The Ber lin Paint er has placed all t he paint ed det ail on t he neck and handles of t he vase t o emphasise it s elegant volut e shape. The scenes depict ed ar e f r amed by a lar ge f r ieze of mir r or ed lot us and palmet t es and a band of st ylised t ongues.
Each side r ecount s a bat t le f ought byt he Gr eek her o Achilles dur ing t heTr oj an war and is composed of f ourf igur es set in a symmet r ical w-shapedgr ouping, which deliber at ely mimicst he wide mout h and nar r ow base oft he vase.
Side A Achilles Fights MemnonBoth figures are slender, athletic and well-muscled.
Achilles has his shield ready to block Memnon holds up his shield toMemnon’s sword, and is also moving block Achilles’ spear, while heforward to thrust with his spear. prepares to lunge forward with his own weapon. Raised heels suggest he is rushing forward
This is Eos (Dawn).Here we can She stands behindclearly see The two mothers her son, Memnon.Thetis, mother of frame the warriors in She raises herAchilles. She the centre. hand, either insupports her support or anguish.son, raising her Her drapery hangsarms and urging in zig-zag folds, andhim on to defeat suggests she isMemnon moving away.
Hector’s shield is behind him, leaving himAgain, Achilles has his shield ready unprotected. His spear is pointing at theto block, and, with his legs apart and ground – not a threatening position forhis right heel raised, he is moving Achilles. Perhaps Achilles has just fendedforward to deliver the fatal blow to off a spear-thrust with his shield. He is leaning backwards, and has a weakthe already wounded Hector. position, with left knee bent. He has twoAchilles is in a very strong body bleeding wounds already – one on his thigh,position. and one on his chest.
On the edges of the sceneThe fight is watched by two divine patrons.Athena stands behind Achilles, and isshown wearing her snake covered aegisand a helmet. She holds a spear in onehand and encourages Achilles with theother.Apollo stands behind Hector, but appearsto be waving farewell to the doomed Hectorand is walking away to let Hector die on thebattlefield. He carries an arrow, perhaps asa hint as to Achilles’ fate?
Composition On both sides only the neck and handles of the vase are decorated. The body is entirely black, except for a small band of rays at the foot. This draws attention to the shape of the vase, and to the small figures painted around the neck. The scenes are symmetrical and mirror each other.
Above the scene is a lotus and palmette band.Below the scene is a bandof stylised meanders.
There is no overlapping, but the positioning of Achilles’ shield helps to create depth and a three-dimensional effect.
Achilles’ ¾ view pose is mirrored on both sides. Side B Side A
Both sides are composed in a W-shape, and both sides are symmetrical. The two outer figures frame the central pair.
Painting TechniqueThis is a Red-Figure vase, so the figuresare first painted with a relief line, thenthe background is filled in with black slip. Next, extra details were added later indiluted slips.
Painting TechniqueMajor muscles are painted Dilute slip is also used for detail Dilute slip is also used for on the inside of the shields, aswith dark slip, while minormuscles are painted with Achilles’ hair. well as Hector’s wounds.dilute slip.