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Makron Skyphos

Page history last edited by Louisa Inu 11 years, 8 months ago


Makron Skyphos





Makron Skyphos.ppt  (vai&louisa)








This is the ninth of the 16 set works that need to be looked at in this course.  It is a more mature red-figure example than the ones that we have met so far.  If you use the most recent handout on skyphoi you should be able to find out what they were used for.  The Greeks used them for……..



Date:              480 - 470 BC

Type:             Skyphos-Red figure

Potter:           Hieron-signed ( incised on the left handle of side A)

Painter:         Makron-signed (painted on the right handle of side A)

Height:          21.5 cms

Subject:        Side A: Paris abducting Helen: start of Trojan Wars.

                        Side B: Menelaos rescuing Helen from Troy at end of Wars.


This pair of potter and painter collaborated on over 30 vases.  Hieron signed a large number of his, but Makron was more modest! Hieron signed usually on the handles of the vases-either in paint, or by incising his name.  As we shall see, his main skill came in his ability to draw drapery in a new manner-concentrating on the way in which the clothes actually looked, rather than what was necessarily easy to draw.


Subject Matter

Side A:           Paris is leading Helen away by the wrist (not hand) symbolising his seduction of her from her husband.  Paris has an armed companion, Aeneas  to his left: Helen has two women, Aphrodite and Peitho (Persuasion).  Characters are named by their heads.  Paris is named as Alexandros which is the other Greek name for Paris.  Above, Helen is the small figure of Cupid, or Eros which indicates seduction rather than force.  Paris' helmet is of the Corinthian type.  This is the event which began the Trojan Wars.

Side B:           Paris has been killed and Troy captured: Menelaos now recovers Helen, Again she is attended by Aphrodite, but also another companion. Kriseis.  Finally there is the old man to her left, Kriseus.  The other figure, Priam, sits beneath the handles, His age is revealed by partial baldness and light coloured slip to suggest greying hair.


Composition  Meander borders above and below.  Very complex.  Helen and her attendants are in very close proximity.  Makron was not afraid to overlap figures, and it is a measure of his success that we can distinguish the figures so clearly.

Side A: The rectangular composition can be looked at from two points of view:

1)    A trio, the chief persons, Paris, Helen, and Aphrodite forming almost a square, which is increased to an oblong by the two supporting persons.

2)    A composition of two squares: a packed, solid, feminine, static one on the right; and an open masculine, dynamic one on the left.

Side B:  Similarly, two points of view are possible:

1)    A trio of the chief actors, Menelaos, Helen and Aphrodite; forms the core of the design, which is augmented on the left by two onlookers.

2)    A dense mass in the middle, feminine: Kriseis, Aphrodite, and Helen - is flanked by two more open figures, masculine.




This is where Makron's real skill is evident.  The different materials are indicated by careful line drawing: chitons have lines much closer together than the himation.  A change from purely zig-zag folds of the two Pioneer School painters: hooks appear, e.g. between the legs of Paris.  There is a slight swell in the drapery of the female characters, a technique of Makron's to suggest movement.  Make your own notes on the details of individual characters.



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