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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The quiet nobility of the Villa Giulia Painter

The Villa Giulia Painter decorated vases in Athens during the period from about 470 to 440 B.C. He worked primarily in the red-figure technique, but he also produced some white-ground pieces. Most of his work appears to have been on large vessels, especially kraters of various forms. The Villa Giulia Painter usually favored quiet scenes, but he also included many depictions of Dionysiac religion and unusual myths. As with most ancient artists, the real name of the Villa Giulia Painter is unknown, and he is identified only by the stylistic traits of his work. Scholars named him after a krater in the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome. - Getty Museum

According to classicist John Beazley, The Villa Giulia Painter's work was representative of the "academic wing of early classic vase-painting”, whose best works are distinguished by “a quiet nobility.”  Some of his work also includes a kalos or "love name" applied near a depicted character. Vase painters commonly added these terms of endearment to acknowledge some athlete or youth popular at the time. The names were not necessarily related to the scenes depicted.

Often when I am photographing ancient art I have found both black and red-figure scenes on ancient Greek ceramics can sometimes be a bit chaotic.  So these pieces by the Villa Giulia Painter with their "quiet nobility" really appealed to me. 

Interesting article about Greek vase painting:

https://smarthistory.org/greek-vase-painting-an-introduction2/

Attic red-figure stamnos by the Villa Giulia Painter, mid-5th century, at the Ashmolean Museum.  Side A. largely motionless women, heavily draped and garlanded with wine vine leaves, hold a skyphos (left) and play double pipes (right) around another who leans towards a low table supporting a large stamnos from which she has ladled wine into a skyphos. B. A woman wearing a decorated fillet around her head and holding a skyphos and thyrsus is framed by two companions, one (left) also holding a skyphos  and the other (right) with her head thrown back as if singing; all are moving as if in dance.

Attic red-figure stamnos by the Villa Giulia Painter, mid-5th century, at the Ashmolean Museum.  Side A. largely motionless women, heavily draped and garlanded with wine vine leaves, hold a skyphos (left) and play double pipes (right) around another who leans towards a low table supporting a large stamnos from which she has ladled wine into a skyphos. B. A woman wearing a decorated fillet around her head and holding a skyphos and thyrsus is framed by two companions, one (left) also holding a skyphos  and the other (right) with her head thrown back as if singing; all are moving as if in dance.

Red-figure kylix (drinking cup) attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter with a shortened form of the kalos, or "love name," eolais above the seated youth, 5th century BCE, Athens, courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  A seated youth holding a staff, his athletic equipment--bathing sponge; an aryballos, a round, short-necked jar containing rubbing oil, and a curved metal strigil, used for scraping oil and moisture off the skin after exercising--hangs on the wall of the gymnasium.

Alabastron (oil bottle) attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter, 470-440 BCE, Athens, courtesy of the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Museum in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Alabastron (oil bottle) attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter, 470-440 BCE, Athens, courtesy of the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Museum in Providence, Rhode Island. 

White-ground Lykethos (oil flask), 460 BCE, Villa Giulia Painter, Classical Greek, Athens, A woman in a long sleeved chiton, with himation around her legs, earrings, bracelets, hair looped up, with rows of curls over forehead, seated on a diphros to right, holding up with both hands a hoop, which she grasps with thumb and finger of the left hand above and of right below. On right hangs from the upper border a saccos, on left, from an oblong object, an alabastron with cords, behind her, a large basket, courtesy of the British Museum

Red-figured pelike depicting Hera and Hebe (Side A) and Zeus and Nike at an altar (Side B), attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter, 460-450 BCE, found near the Dipylon Gate, Athens, courtesy of the British Museum

Red-figured pelike depicting Hera and Hebe (Side A) and Zeus and Nike at an altar (Side B), attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter, 460-450 BCE, found near the Dipylon Gate, Athens, courtesy of the British Museum

Terracotta lekythos (oil flask) attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter, 460 BCE, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From the end of the sixth century B.C., the lekythos served as a funerary vase to contain offerings of oil for the dead. During the second quarter of the fifth century, white-ground lekythoi, on which the decoration was painted over a white slip, became the typical funerary vase. While the subject here is the libation at the departure of a warrior, the shape suggests that the warrior did not return alive and that this vase was placed on his grave.

Attic Red-Figure Calyx Krater; Villa Giulia Painter Athens, Greece; 460–450 B.C.E., Terracotta,  J. Paul Getty Museum.  Side A, Orpheus attacked by Thracian Women. The woman on the left thrusts a spear towards Orpheus's throat. He staggers backwards, having dropped his lyre. A second woman attacks from the right, swinging an axe. Side B, three standing youths carrying spears and wearing distinctive Thracian helmets and cloaks. The two on the left face one another, the third walks away to the right, looking back. Lotus and palmette band on the rim; stopped meander with saltire squares below the groundline. Palmette complex above the handles.

Terracotta kylix (drinking cup) attributed to the Villa Giulia Painter, 470 BCE, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  a goddess—identifiable by her scepter—stands by an altar to pour an offering from a phiale (libation bowl). Details such as the phiale and the figure's bracelets and necklace are rendered in added clay, which originally would have been gilded. It is likely that the vase was specially commissioned for dedication in a sanctuary.




 

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