2 - 4 Corinthian Pottery

@Corinth is situated at the north east part of the Peloponessos and developed as important place for sea trade. They took the lead in trade with the East and introduced eastern elements to vase-painting. Then they developed so called Orientalizing style.

It is noticeable that their main products are smaller vessels, such as jugs and perfume pots. Different from Attic pottery, Corinthian clay has less iron and it makes the colour into buff yellow after fired. The common decoration schemes are animals, such as lions and panthers, and monsters, such as sphinxes and griffins. But the most important innovation is the technique for decoration.

With this so called black figure technique, figures are depicted as silhouette, then the details are represented by engraved lines and white and purple are sometimes added for accent. Corinthian pottery in the Orientalizing period is named "Protocorinthian". On middle Protocorinthian pottery, painters introduced mythological scenes [1]. The Chisi Vase (villa giulia) is the masterpiece of this period. This is the first time in the history of Greek art that Greek hoplies are represented. In the middle frieze has the judgement of Paris, while the lower frieze has a hunting scene.

In the second half of the seventh century, figures became bigger and more details were added, while the composition and style were mannered and many patterns such as rosettas occpied the background. Now the Corinthian pottery turned into new phase, Corinthain pottery [2]. Although occasionally human figures are depicted, most vases are filled with animal friezes (fig.1), which were followed by workshops in many other regions, such as of Attica, East Greek and Etruskan.

Other than vessels, Corinthain painters occasionally painted on votive plaques (fig.2), on which potter's workshops are often represented. In the later period, when they were menaced by fine vases of Athenian workshops in pottery market, Corinthain workshops introduced more mythological scenes (fig.3) and larger vessels (fig.4,fig.5)[3].






Although the neck amphora in Paris dated to c.550 cannot be greater than contemporary Athenian pottery, it is noticeable that the story of the death of Ismene, daughter of Oidipus, is represented, since the story is not preserved in any literary sources (fig.6). In the second half of the sixth century, Corinthain workshops abandoned figure decoration on their vessels.


[1] For Protocorinthain pottery, see, Johansen, K. F., Les vases Sicyoniens, (1923), Payne, H., Protokorinthische Vasenmalerei, (1933), Dunbabin, T. J. and Robertson, M., "Some Protocorinthian vase-painters", BSA 48, pp.172-181.
[2] For Corinthain pottery, see, Payne, H., Necrocorinthia: a study of Corinthian art in the Archaic period, (1931), Hopper, R. J., BSA 44, pp.162-257, Benson, J. L., Earlier Corinthian Workshops, (1989), Amyx, D. A., Corinthian vase-paintings of the Archaic period, (1988), Neeft, C. W., Addenda et Corrigenda to D. A. Amyx, CorVP, (1991).
[3] For Late Corinthain pottery, see, Campbell, M. T., Hesp. 7, pp.560-564.