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Euthymides Belly Amphora

Page history last edited by Ms Allaker 13 years, 9 months ago


Euthymides Belly Amphora
















This is the eighth of the 16 set works that need to be studied in this course.  It is often linked with the previous work, the Euphronios Calyx Krater.  Remember that we have already looked at one Belly Amphora, the one by Exekias.  At the end I will probably want you to make a comparison between the two: of course the most obvious difference is that one is Black-figure and the other is Red-figure!! Just for a change it is probably worth reminding yourself of exactly what the Greeks used an amphora for.  It was used for …………


Date:              510-500 BC

Type:             Belly Amphora-Red figure

Potter:           Unknown

Painter:         Euthymides-signed (side A)

Height:          60cms

Diameter of Mouth:          29.7 cms

Subject:        Side A: Arming of Hector in the presence of Priam and Hecuba


                        Side B: Three male revellers.

Like the previous artist, he was a member of the Pioneer Group about whom you really need to know something.  There are some general notes in what follows, but I'm afraid that you will need to complete a worksheet on a handout about them as well.  These early Red-figure vases are not of a very high standard, but the standard does get much better soon.  The new Red-figure technique allowed for the greater precision, yet greater "feeling" for human figures.Now for a little more sketching.

Calix Krater               Column Krater                       Kylix Cup 



Euthymides signed six vases, he was a contemporary of Euphronios - a friend and rival member of the Pioneer Group.  He didn't imitate Euphronios, but was his equal in inventiveness and draughtsmanship, using thinned slip for anatomical details.  He was very free with his inscriptions, naming himself 6 times, his father ("Polias") 3 times, and also characters from myths and legends.  The name "Euthymides" means "good spirit" (Euphronios' name means "good sense").


Subject matter

Side A:        Priam, the King of Troy (left) and his wife Hecuba (right) watch and assist their son, Hector, arming for the Trojan Wars.  Notice the zig-zag drapery. The scene occasionally extends into the border.  Hector's body is less than perfect with a  frontal torso and a fully profile head.


Side B: Three young men return from a symposium.  They are excellent examples of 3/4 front and back poses.  Designed to suggest movement (cf Herakles and Antaeus).  From left to right they are Komarchos who stands in profile with a 3/4 torso: Euedemos (which is possibly a misspelling of Eudemos) who is in a most unusual pose - profile leg, 3/4 buttocks profile face - not a stationary position: Teles frontal, with face in profile.  Again there is a slight interruption to the border, this time by Euedemos' walking stick.  A great interest in anatomy is again shown.  There is an inscription on the left side of this tableau, it reads "As never Euphronios" ie. "Euphronios could never do anything like this!"



The main frieze is bordered on all sides: above by palmettes, below by stylised buds, and on each side by checkerboard pattern.  The shoulder contours of the figures follow the shoulder contours of the vase.  Again, ray bands are present, and there are large black bands above and below the scene as an additional frame.



Presence of foreshortening, easy to see the feet, also the back of Euedemos.  Check for further examples.

Figures:   heavier and meatier than those of Euphronios.  He incised his hair lines and avoided relief ringlets.

Eyes:       fewer lashes

Ears:        simpler and lighter with a central hook or tick

Scrotum:  loose and fleshy

Feet:        long and flat

Fingers:               rather rubbery and elongated

Cloaks:    they stand up with stiff folds at the back of the neck - this is very obvious on Priam's cloak.


He has an obvious interest in twisting bodies, and the 3/4 view does betray a desire to suggest space in which figures move about.  His limitations include:

i)     overlapping is not greatly exploited to add depth to the scenes

ii)    no attempt at a background, just black glaze

iii)   figures stand on a single groundline, again giving no depth.

Why is there such an interest in the body's form and how it stands and moves in space ?


i)     Red figure technique is far more capable of giving the illusion of volume and depth than the flat silhouette of black figure.

ii)    Continuing interest in naturalism, seen in contemporary sculpture.  This was especially so of young men, where realistically moulded muscles were beginning to replace the earlier stylised forms.

iii)   A desire to convince not just by telling what happened, but also how it happened - what movement, where, who etc.



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