Art Response Essay

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Art History I, Response Essay

The piece I have chosen for this Response Essay is a Hydria Offering (Funerary Water Pitcher) attributed to the Mound Painter; it is dated c. 340-330 BC. This particular piece is located at the British Museum in London. The material is ceramic and is one of the best examples of a funerary pitcher that would be placed in a tomb. The vessel is symmetrical and has a sense of purpose, to commemorate the death of the occupant of the tomb with the presenting of gifts to the deceased.

I chose this particular piece due to the abundance of our chapters mentioning burial practices, tombs, and relics left behind to honor the dead. Death was important to people of ancient worlds. They believed their beloved ones were being carried off to the gods and gifts left at or in their tombs were offerings to help them with their final journey. This vessel is an example of late Red Figure style, a style in which reddish figures appear light against the black background of the surface. In this particular case, it was modified with the use of white as a third color. This effect was achieved as the piece is made of red clay which produces black oxidation where desired when it is fired. In some ways, this piece shows elements of several earlier styles in modified form. The figures are shown in three-quarter profile rather than the more strict profile, which had been common prior to the sixth century B.C. Elements of the geometric style can be seen on the base, with the human figures above being either red or white.

The symmetry of the vessel is well displayed from the foot of the pitcher to the lip. The object itself is designed with a narrow neck with an extended lip rising above the neck. There are handles on either side of the neck which gives a sense of usability. The design is common from this era, typically the shapes of these Hydria’s were similar; only the depictions on them were different. There is a maze-like...
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