Collecting Masterpieces
Photo of volute-crater-in-red-figure-ware-apulian-4th-cent-bc

 

Ancient Greece And Rome
RED FIGURE VOLUTE CRATER
Magna Graecia ­(780 - 211 BC)

Ex Bernard Buffet Collection (French painter 1929-1999)

 

Object :
Nº 424
Medium :
Terracotta
Dimensions :
Height: 77 cm (30.3’’) - Width: 38.5 cm (15.1’’)
Bibliography :
Published in the book « Collecting Masterpieces » Part one, by Beryl Cavallini, page 194 - 195

A wheel-thrown vase, in sections, with handles that have been made by hand and then fixed. This ritual terra cotta crater was also used for drinking wine mixed with water at symposia. Composed of a great egg shaped body tapered on a circular base like a flared foot that is set off from the body by a groove. Completed with two handles on the sides placed between the shoulder and the mouth. The two big handles are in the form of volutes with angels on their top with two Dionysiac faces moulded in relief, the details painted with white and yellow. This vase which size is remarkable is painted with the technique of red and black and decorated with extensive floral and geometric decoration. The central scene represents the Naiskos with a couple in white colour so that you could think they were in marble. On the back, a mourning scene is depicted. The vase is also ornamented with various lines presenting typical geometrical Greek designs. Restorations all over the body as usual for this type of fragile vessel.

The largest kraters were used to contain wine and water, that was drunk during banquets. But models of an outstanding size, like this one, were usually destined for the funerary rite. This krater consists of a large ovoid body, richly decorated, mounted on a pedestal and flanked by two sizeable handles on the sides. Shaped like scrolls, these are both decorated with angels and Dionysian faces stuccoed on each side in relief. Red-figure painting appeared in Athens around 530/520 BC with a new technique which immediately achieved great success as it permitted a greater realism in details of faces and draperies compared to the earlier inverted blackfigure technique. The preparation of the design of these vases was done using a piece of charcoal before the figures were painted in brown clay. Finally, the background and the details were filled in with black paint. The technique of painting in red and white helps to highlight a scene composed around a central naiskos in the Ionic style. In the center of the small temple, a couple is painted as if they were in white marble, while on either side of the naiskos, women dressed in long chitons bring offerings. One half of the couple is a standing naked man, probably representing the judge of the underworld leaning on a large staff, he carries his himation trailing on the ground with the other hand. On the left, a seated woman holding a spear seems to be speaking to him. On the reverse, two women separated by a large headstone are seated, both facing left, one turning around to speak to the other. The vase is also decorated with several registers of meanders typical of ancient Greek art, repeated geometric motifs and laurel leaves. There are large palmettes on the sides and the back is covered with innumerable wreaths. This high quality piece is very decorative and originates from the collection of the French painter Bernard Buffet.