• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


The Francois Vase

Page history last edited by Ms Allaker 11 years, 10 months ago


The Francois Vase



In class presentation:










This is the first of 16 set works that will be studied over the next four weeks.


That means that there will be about one per period, with a couple to be done on your own for homework at the end of the course.  I can not guarantee that all vases will be presented equally well, and I expect that some vases I will give out as seminars



Date:              c.570 BC

Type:             Volute Crater-Black figure

Potter:           Ergotimos

Painter:         Kleitias

Height:          66 cm

Diameter of mouth:            57 cm

Circumference:        1.81 m at it greatest girth.

Human and animal characters:          270

Inscriptions of names: 121


1.         It is known as the "Francois Vase" because


2.         Like many Black-figure vases of the latter part of the 6th century BC, ie. from 599 BC to       500 BC, it…..


3.         It can be seen as a development from earlier styles in two ways:





Known as the Francois Vase because it was found by Alessandro Francois in 1845 at Chiusi by an Etruscan tomb.  Like most black-figure vases it is a narrative vase.  It told stories and myths unlike the earlier vases which were either animal friezes or purely decorative (e.g. marine style and geometric).  However, there are some of those on the Francois Vase.  It represents a development from earlier styles in that the main frieze encircles the vase (a technique started by the Georgian Painter 600-580 BC); also the Cup painters from c-58OBC onwards began replacing animal figures with narrative.


Subject matter 

LIP:     Side A: This depicts the Calydonian Boar Hunt.  A huge boar was sent by Artemis to ravage Calydon, because Calydon had not made appropriate sacrifices to her.  Important people involved in this were Peleus (later married Thetis and had Achilles), Meleager and Atalanta.


          Side B: Theseus' victory dance with the Athenian youths and virgins he had rescued from       the minotaur.  Yearly the Athenians were required to sacrifice 7 virgins and 7 youths to the         minotaur in Crete.  Theseus had also taken part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt.


NECK: Side A: Funeral games for Patroclus (friend and attendant of Achilles).

  Patroclus had died wearing Achilles' armour.  Achilles, over-wrought at this "death by mistaken identity", sought out his killer, Hector, and dragged the murderer behind his chariot until he was dead.

            Side B: Fight between the Lapiths and Centaurs.  At the wedding of King Peirithous (a Lapith), to Hippodamia, the centaurs became drunk (as was their wont) and either one (Eurytion) or more of them attempted to rape the Lapith women.  In the ensuing battle the Centaurs were routed.  The Centaurs were viewed as particularly barbaric by the Greeks.


SHOULDER: This is an encircling frieze.  It depicts the gods honouring the newly-wed Peleus and Thetis.  Peleus stands before his house and in the open door, his bride Thetis can be seen.


BELLY: Side A: Achilles in pursuit of Troilus (son of Priam) in the early stages of the Trojan Wars.  This is watched by Priam standing outside the walls of Troy.  Troilus is on the horses, and Achilles' right thigh is just visible.


Side B: The return of Hephaistos (Vulcan) from Mt.  Etna.  He was a cripple and had been cast out of heaven by either Zeus or Hera (his parents).  Here he is riding on a donkey and followed by Dionysis, being taken back to Mt Olympus.  They are accompanied by satyrs.


LOWER BELLY: An encircling frieze NOT NARRATIVE.  It depicts a selection of mythical animals, including griffins and sphinxes.


LOWEST BELLY: Encircling rays.


FOOT:            Encircling.  Here pygmies ride pygmy horses and fight off cranes.


HANDLES: Inner: Both sides depict the goddess Artemis surrounded by animals, on one handle, they are a deer and a panther, on the other, they are lions.  Beneath this scene, Ajax carries the dead Achilles.  The scene beneath the panther and deer has greater incision detail of the hair and muscles, but no spear.


     Outer: On each there is an identical creature (though the hand position varies from one to the other)-perhaps a gorgon of some sort.


CONNECTIONS: The thematic link between many of the friezes is Achilles.  He appears, either in person or linked through his parents in the following scenes:


            Lip A (through Peleus' presence)

Neck A (Patroclus had died wearing his armour)

Shoulder (through his parents' marriage)

Belly A (Chasing Troilus)

            Handles (dead, being carried)


Artemis, too, is a common character:

            Lip B (she had sent the Calydonian Boar)

Shoulder (she is one of the gods present at the marriage celebrations).

            Handles (she appears, surrounded by animals).


Theseus also gets a double mention.

Lip A (he took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt)

Lip B (rescuer of the Athenians)


OVERALL THEME: Success of the Greeks: over Trojans, barbarians, animals.  And shows the esteem in which they are held by the gods.


The painter was a master of details, this can be seen by the delight obvious on the faces of the Athenians on the Lip (b); the intent of the satyrs on the reverse of the belly.  However, the limitations of the technique, meant that full depth, real interest in movement and anatomy, and drapery was simply not possible; therefore a convincing narrative was impossible.  Nevertheless, within these confines , this is an outstanding example of early black-figure painting.



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.