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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

Greek Painting

Red-figured Vases

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Some time before the end of the sixth century, perhaps as early as 540, a new method of decorating pottery was invented in Attica. The principal coloring matter used continued to be the lustrous black varnish; but instead of filling in the outlines of the figures with black, the decorator, after outlining the figures by means of a broad stroke of the brush, covered with black the spaces between the figures, leaving the figures themselves in the color of the clay. Vases thus decorated are called "red-figured." In this style incised lines ceased to be used, and details were rendered chiefly by means of the black varnish or, for certain purposes, of the same material diluted till it became of a reddish hue. The red-figured and black-figured styles coexisted for perhaps half a century, but the new style ultimately drove the old one out of the market.

 

Cf. Athenian Pottery, by W. Davis

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