Essay Renaissance Fashion

Submitted By jbotweezy
Words: 1215
Pages: 5

Pottery encompasses a large part of the archaeological record of ancient Greek history. Due to history’s ability to protect many rediscovered examples of great Greek potters in tombs, attics and other scared places, historians, critics and viewers are now able to gain insight on not only the artistic styles of the time, but also to begin to understand the larger civilization as reflected in the vessels. By considering the backgrounds and comparing directly the Calyx-Krater (Figure 1) and the Woman and Maid (Figure 2), we are able to see that though vessels of the time period had a lot of similarities the constant change in stylistic methods allowed for each piece to have its own distinct novelty.
Calyx-Krater and Woman and Maid are stylistically very similar in form, which is possibly due to the fact that both vessels where produced in Greece, around the same time in history. Both works were constructed between 430B.C.E.- 470 B.C.E, the Classical period of Greek art1. The Calyx-Krater is a Greek open ceramic vessel produced around 430 BC in the early Classical period, during the transition from the more stylized art of the Archaic period. The vessels in this time were known to be an increasingly controversial in theme portraying sentimental “emotional tones”2. The chaotic scenes appearing on the vessels became over-refined and careless, as groups of figures were crowded together without meaning or interest. The next transition in thematic art came from around 450 B.C.E., during the high Classical period when Greek art was most prominent and produced some of its most refined works3. Aside from the artistic beauty displayed in both vessels, the pieces were made to serve more than just a decorative function. The Calyx-Krater depicting Aktaion and his great-aunt Artemis is what was called a Bell Krater and was used for mixing the popular Greek drink of water and wine. “Women with Maid,” on the other hand, is a Lekythos type of vessel, used to pour liquids during elaborate burial ceremonies to honor the wealthy4. Research has revealed that an additional purpose of pottery in many cases was to tell stories, which is the exact function of Calyx-Krater. The vase depicts the goddess of the hunt, Artemis, punishing her nephew, Aktaion by transforming him into a stag to be eaten by his own hounds5. Showing a largely different purpose of the vessels, Woman and Maid was intended as a remembrance of a wealthy woman, and depicts an offering of a chest of valuables from a slave girl to the deceased6.
Initial inspection of the two vessels reveals that they deliberately crafted to give each piece a distinctive appearance. As far as shape, the Calyx-Krater is a rather short vessel supported by a circular base connected at the slender neck of the rounded body. Attached to the lower body of the vessel just above the rounded base are two handles springing straight from the neck of the base, which curve inward towards the vessels body. In comparison to Women and Maid, the Calyx-Krater could hold a lot more liquid. Though the Woman and Maid appears to be visually taller, its slenderness hinders it ability to hold much in the body of the vessel.
Another example of the distinctive differences between the vessels can be found in the coloring and shade. The Women and Maid are given a drastically light appearance, as it is mostly painted in a white color and a darker appearance is given to the Crater with its black opaque color paint and reddish-orange colored illustration. This distinctive difference may be linked to the different in time period of production as different painting techniques were used at different times. At the end of the early Classical period, when the Calyx-Krater was completed, red-figure vessels were very popular7 Figures are outlined in black glaze, with details painted in, and then the whole background is also painted with black glaze In the white-ground technique, painters used highly refined glaze on a vase that