Magna Graecia, Apulian, possibly Painter of Karlsruhe B9, ca. 370 BCE. An elegant Apulian hydria, finely decorated via the red-figure technique, the body of the vessel depicting a male youth, standing in composite profile with his right leg slightly bent at the knee, holding a walking stick in his left hand, and presented in the nude save a diadem (delineated with fugitive yellow pigment to represent gold) adorning his curly coiffure and a cloak draped over his left arm and held in his right. He faces a lovely female who wears a flowing chiton with delineated drapery folds, a beaded necklace, and bracelets. She holds a caskette in her right hand and a dotted swag in her left hand. Size: 8.75" W x 10.125" H (22.2 cm x 25.7 cm)
In addition to this figural program, the vessel presents with wonderful stylized floral bloom between the two figures, a phytomorphic form behind the lady, a band of egg-and-dart motif around the neck, frets along the vertical face of the rim, and a running Greek key motif with two "X" panels below the figures.
Perhaps the most exciting innovation in Greek vase painting was the red-figure technique, invented in Athens around 525 BCE and beloved by other artists of Magna Graecia. The red-figure technique allowed for much greater flexibility as opposed to the black-figure technique, for now the artist could use a soft, pliable brush rather than a rigid metal graver to delineate interior details, play with the thickness of the lines, as well as build up or dilute glazes to create chromatic effects. The painter would create figures by outlining them in the natural red of the vase, and then enrich these figural forms with black lines to suggest volume, at times perspectival depth, and movement, bringing those silhouettes and their environs to life. Beyond this, fugitive pigments made it possible for the artist to create additional layers of interest and detail as we see on the youth's diadem in this example.
Provenance: ex-Estate of Eldert Bontekoe, Pegasi Numismatics, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA acquired before 2000; accompanied by old label from Parthenon Gallery, London, UK
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Professionally repaired from about 15 pieces with one small section (about one square inch) of new clay just below the fillet in the maiden's left hand. Repainting only over breaks with paint generally strong and vivid. A few nicks and scuffs here and there. Still quite nice.