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Red Figure Amphora with Musical Scene

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Red Figure Amphora with Musical Scene

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  • November 9, 2008
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Niobid Painter, named after his most famous glazed ceramic vase paintings, is one of the most well known vase-painters of classical Athens Greece and is appreciated for his soft and balanced work of art. In the Red Figure Amphora with Musical Scene, in the scene that is believed to be the first of the two, the women in the woman’s quarter of the house, are elaborately dressed and are preparing far a music session. The scene depicts a seated woman relaxing while fingering a barbiton. Directly above her head hangs a lyre. To her right she is facing a woman holding a flute in each hand, and a third woman is lifting the lid of a box, which most likely contains rolls of sheet music. This scene brings to mind the leisured and relatively educated world of affluent Athenian women. On the other side of the vase, are three women dressed in the attire of maenads, the female followers of Dionysus preparing for their ritual roles in his cult. They’re all holding pine branches while the woman in the middle is also holding a torch; these may be the same women on the front though there is not a sufficient amount of evidence to confirm this.

When one first lays eyes on this ceramic vase, the first notion would be to call it a naturalistic work of art due to the fact that the women are all proportionally done and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. Upon further investigation it becomes obviously clear that while this piece appears to be naturalistic, when one observes the simplicity of its nature, the abstractness of the image becomes noticed. An interesting aspect about the Niobid Painter’s style is that he allows the parts of the body on the women, which normally protrude such as the head shoulder and chest fall along the curve of the vase giving the perception of depth and dimension. In definition, especially when concerning the color of the vase the piece is almost flawless, except for a few peculiar marks on the ritual side of the vase. While most of the...