Bearded man and courtesan dining on a couch, entertained by a flute player and two dancing satyrs. Reverse shows three bearded men embrace cloaked women.
The names of all the individual potters and vase-painters considered to be members of the so-called Medea Group are unknown. Indeed, amphorae with similar stylistic and thematic attributes are ascribed to this group of artists, rather than individuals, because of the indistinguishable nature of their craftsmanship. Their work is collectively recognized for its intricate depictions of animated and mythological subject matter. Here, the artist’s ability to imbue figures with a sense of motion is demonstrated by the kinetic dancers flanking the couch and the two kneeling male figures visible on the reverse side of the amphora. The elaborate dot work on the couch on which a man and courtesan recline typifies the elaborate detailing for which the Medea Group’s artists are renowned.
Arielle Greenbaum, Class of 2011
The ivy wreaths, flowing hair, and large size of the reclining pair suggest the figures on this vase are not mere mortals, but Dionysos, god of wine and revelry, and his beloved Ariadne. A pipe-player and lively dancers provide the evening’s entertainment. The couple, draped in embroidered finery, lie on an elegant couch cushioned with a mattress and pillow. In front of them, a table holds their lavish meal—various meats and a large cup for wine. On the other side, two couples engage in amorous activity, while a third couple stops to look.
jars; ancient; figures; patterns; decorative arts; courtesans; men; flutes; dancers; beards; cloth; narrative; symbolism; shape; design; orange; black; abstract
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