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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

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

Greek Painting

Euphronius

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The development of the new style was achieved by men of talent, several of whom fairly deserve to be called artists. Such an one was Euphronius, whose long career as a potter covered some fifty years, beginning at the beginning of the fifth century or a little earlier. Fig. 191 gives the design upon the outside of a cylix (a broad, shallow cup, shaped like a large saucer, with two handles and a foot), which bears his signature. Its date is about 480, and it is thus approximately contemporary with the latest of the archaic statues of the Athenian Acropolis. On one side we have one of the old stock subjects of the vase-painters, treated with unapproached vivacity and humor. Among the labors of Heracles, imposed upon him by his taskmaster, Eurystheus, was the capturing of a certain destructive wild boar of Arcadia and the bringing of the creature alive to Mycenae. In the picture, Heracles is returning with the squealing boar on his shoulder. The cowardly Eurystheus has taken refuge in a huge earthenware jar sunk in the ground, but Heracles, pretending to be unaware of this fact, makes as though he would deposit his burden in the jar. The agitated man and woman to the right are probably the father and mother of Eurystheus. The scene on the other side of the cylix is supposed to illustrate an incident of the Trojan War: two warriors, starting out on an expedition, are met and stopped by the god Hermes. In each design the workmanship, which was necessarily rapid, is marvelously precise and firm, and the attitudes are varied and telling. Euphronius belonged to a generation which was making great progress in the knowledge of anatomy and in the ability to pose figures naturally and expressively. It is interesting to note how close is the similarity in the method of treating drapery between the vases of this period and contemporary sculpture.

 

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