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‘Artful crafts’: A commentary

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 October 2013

R. M. Cook
Affiliation:
Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge
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Extract

In JHS cv (1985) 108–28 M. Vickers makes far-reaching claims for the dependence of Attic fine pottery on metalwork. I take them more or less in his order. Bronze Age and not only in Greece, but perhaps he reckons such imitation a recurrent phenomenon. At any rate his principal concern is with mature Black-figure and Red-figure.

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Notes
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 1987

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References

1 POxy liii (1984) 3659.5–8Google Scholar.

2 Ibid. xvi 16–17.

3 Scure, G.Robert, JRobert, L, BCH xxviii (1904) 224–5Google Scholar.

4 [Julian], Ep. 19 (Bidez-Cumont no. 194). I am grateful to j. M. Cook for this reference.

5 D. Hughes and P. J. Parsons suggest that it might have been a paradox ([n.1] 62).

6 ii 48.8; xix 98.3.

7 The use here of silver seems inconsistent: Vickers notes the stripes and spots of felines and the eye of a horse (though it is not clear from Seure's description whether for the white or the pupil) but it occurs also on the legs of riders. The date should be late Hellenistic, so P. J. Callaghan kindly told me.

8 I do not altogether understand the argument that the palmettes on the shoulders of lekythoi represent ornamental concealments of rivets. Should there not then be rivets, also to be concealed, at the top of the belly? Or were the rivets simply drilled into the wall?

9 To be more exact, Vickers thinks that in earlier black-figure red represents bronze, but that about the time when red-figure began it had come to be used for gold. This change would then have been in the 530s BC on the conventional chronology, but according to Vickers's (which I do not accept) around 480, so allowing Persian booty to increase the supply of precious metals.

10 Though I doubt if, as Vickers says, he would have made more profit. If less gold was used, customers would soon have noticed.

11 His first reference in n. 127 is perhaps a little unfair: I said of the shapes of Etruscan bucchero that there appears to be much imitation of metalwork. Incidentally some Etruscan bucchero pots, which from their blackness might on Vickers's theory be thought to imitate silver, seem to have been given a silver overlay; but this can be interpreted in different ways.

12 From literary sources we hear only of sculptors and painters—of pictures, not pots—who were admitted, and not many of them either.

13 xi 782b.

14 i 28.2.

15 Vickers allows some independent artistry because on a few pots the traces of a preliminary sketch differ considerably from the final painting; and also he excepts hack work.

16 The evidence is Pliny's statement about Parrhasius—‘multa graphidis vestigia exstant in tabulis ac membranis eius, ex quibus proficere dicuntur artifices’ (NH xxxv 68): parchment (‘membrana’) was expensive.

17 This point is made by Canciani, F. in ed. Böhr, E. and Martini, W., Studien zur Mythologie und Vasenmalerei (Mainz 1986) 63 n. 8Google Scholar.

18 A convenient, though now very incomplete, illustrated corpus of signed pots is provided by Hoppin, J. C., A handbook of Greek Black-figured vases (Paris 1924)Google Scholar and A handbook of Attic Red-figured vases (Cambridge, Mass. 1919)Google Scholar.

19 Hoppin (n. 17—B.F.) s.v. Exekias, nos. 1 and 4; 2 and 9.

20 If there were different kinds of line in the ‘designs’ for metalworkers, what was their purpose and how was a relief line produced?

21 Vase-painters' own trial sketches for elaborate compositions are allowed by Beazley, J. D. (‘Potter and painter’, PBA xxx [1944] 38Google Scholar) and Noble, J. V. (The technique of Attic painted pottery [New York 1965] 50Google Scholar).

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