Corinthian Greek Black-Figure Olpe with Animal Frieze

Corinthian, second half of the 7th century B.C.32




高: 32.0 cm (12.5 in)





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The jug on a flanged foot has an ovoid body and a single handle made up of three conjoint strips; at the lip, the handle is surmounted by two roundels ornamented with white dots forming the rosettes. The decoration of the body consists of four figural friezes divided by red-purple and black bands. The representations in the friezes include processions of animals such as the striding panthers, lions, bulls, ibexes, wild boars, and geese, supplemented by the seated sphinxes. Especially noticeable is a symmetrical arrangement of two figures on either side of a central figure (for example, the sphinxes confronting a goose). In the art of ancient civilizations, the heraldic type of composition, endowed with symbolic significance, became an important iconographic scheme.

A competent artist employed fine incision lines to shape the variety of anatomical details characteristic of different figures, while the added red-purple color was used to distinguish certain parts of their bodies. Besides the obvious decorative effect, the colored parts may contribute to the three-dimensional quality in otherwise completely graphic work. The rest of the field is filled with rosettes; a reserved area just above the foot is encircled by rays, and the underside has two incised concentric circles. This specific shape of a large jug with multi-figural friezes was particularly favored by Corinthian vase painters during the second half of the seventh century B.C.


Excellent preservation of pigments. Nearly intact with only one small restoration near the foot. Some flaking of the black glaze on the neck and an area of misfire on the body.


Art market, prior to the 1950’s;

Ex- private collection, Geneva, Switzerland, acquired during the 1950’s;

thence by decent to Mrs. M. private collection, Geneva, by succession in 1976.


FABULOUS MONSTERS, New York, Summer 2021, no. 4