Drinking cup (kylix) showing a youth with lyre, ca. 430 BCE
Earthenware with black slip (red-figure ware)
Overall: 2 1/16 in x 9 1/4 in; 5.2 cm x 23.5 cm; Base: 3 1/4 in; 8.3 cm
Purchase with the Nancy Everett Dwight Fund
About 530 BCE., the color scheme of vase decoration was reversed so that figures were reserved in red clay color and the background was painted black. Instead of being incised with a sharp tool, details of anatomy or clothing were painted in with a brush, a process which gave the painter greater freedom of expression. This cup or kylix is an early example of the red-figure style. It has a flaring foot, low stem, and shallow bowl and is decorated on the inside with a dancing woman who holds krotala, or noisemakers like castanets. Inscribed around the circle are the words “KALOS KALOS” (beautiful beautiful). The painter of this scene is assumed to be Oltos, whose name is known from his signature on two other cups. Characteristic of his style are stocky figures with long, pointed noses and flat feet such as we see in this example. He also favored rather exaggerated running poses that involve sharply opposed directions of movement. Oltos worked at the time when the red-figure style was very new; hence, the drawing on this cup does not yet take full advantage of the range of possibilities inherent in the innovative technique, as for example, variation in the strength of lines used for contours and inner details.
-Diana Buitron, Curator, The Walters Art Gallery
The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum: Handbook of the Collection (1984)