Kleophon Painter - Themes - Domestic or Ritual

Domestic or Ritual

The most common theme painted on the Kleophon Painter’s vases was a domestic or ritual theme. There are 104 known vases by the Kleophon Painter that have domestic or ritual themes to them. He painted the domestic theme on a variety of different styles of vases. He liked to paint ceremonies such as weddings and the Komos. The Komos was a ceremony in ancient Greece where most of the people involved would drink heavily and parade into the center of town. It is not known what the purpose of this ceremony was but historians theorize that it was either to celebrate a wedding or some kind of worship for the gods. If the painting was not a sacrifice, Komos or parade then it was probably just a regular domestic theme from ancient Greece.

A great example of a domestic style vase is located in the Mykonos Archaeological Museum. Mykonos is an island off the coast of Greece. The vase is an Attic Red Figure Hydria. It is Beazley Attic Red Vase Number 215232. The vase was discovered in Delos, Greece. Delos played an important part in the development of the politics of ancient Greece especially in the seventh Century BCE. This indicates that the Kleophon Painter was in the business of making vases for the upper class. The date range for this particular Hydria is between 450 and 400 BCE. This Hydria has few if any intricacies about it. It is a plain painting of two women facing each other. On the very top lip there is a tongue pattern that wraps all the way around the top of the Hydria. There is a more intricate tongue pattern that wraps around the neck just above the shoulder of the Hydria. Around the bottom of the Hydria there is a meander pattern interrupted with a cross pattern every fourth block. With the exception of these three patterns the Hydria is very basic. It shows two women standing facing each other with a mirror suspended in between them. The woman on the left (as you look at the Hydria) is holding a box with her head bowed. She is wearing a hat and does not have hands that are visible. The woman on the right has her head bowed as well but not quite as far and is not wearing a hat. Both women’s faces are strikingly similar. The eyes are triangular in shape, which is a common feature in most of the Kleophon Painter’s works. The eyes are however, on this Hydria, difficult to see but if one looks closely, he or she will see the aforementioned triangular shape. Their noses are unnaturally triangular and their chins have a smooth curve. The woman on the right has a slightly more bulbous chin than the one on the left. Both women are wearing fairly basic robes that go all the way down to their feet. The robes have a few lines and folds in them but for the most part are plain.

The Kleophon Painter’s style of painting clothing is fairly consistent throughout a large portion of his works. The only two things in the background are a mirror that seems to be hanging in midair (most likely to be presumed that it is hung on a wall) and a seat with a simple pattern on it.

Another domestic painting that is attributed to the Kleophon Painter is a Calyx Krater with two youths preparing to sacrifice a bull. This Krater is Attic Red Vase Number 215161. It is currently located in Ferrara in the Museo Nazionale di Spina. The Krater was discovered in Spina, Italy. This indicates that the Kleophon painter was in the business of shipping his vases outside of Greece to elsewhere in the world. The date range is 450 to 400 BCE. This is the date range found on almost all of the Kleophon Painter’s works which means that he did not have anyone carry on his workshop after he died. The Krater itself has a leaf pattern that circles the top lip of the Krater. There is a meander pattern, interrupted by a cross every fourth block, that wraps around the bottom of the Krater. On side A it shows two young males leading a bull to an altar, presumably to be sacrificed. Both of these young males have on robes that stop just above their feet. The eyes, again, are triangular shaped on the youths, but much more circular on the bull. Siddde B shows the same two boys, however, no bull. It can be assumed that the goal of painting the Krater this way was in order to show that the bull had been sacrificed. The boys are standing at the same altar that they had led the Bull to on Side A.

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