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The Francois Vase: story book of Greek mythology

270 figures run, fight, and dance across the surface of the Francois Vase. While the decoration seems dense and busy to our modern eyes, an ancient viewer would have known all of these mythological stories from oral tradition and epic poetry and could identify each figure with the help of the 121 labels that accompany them. Let’s take a close aspetto at scenes on the vase preciso better understand how it was used as a functional story book in the ancient world.

Alessandro Francois found fragments of the Francois vase per 1844 con an Etruscan tomb north of Chiusi, Italy. Subsequent excavations led preciso the discovery of additional fragments. The vase was made durante Athens (Greece).

An Italian named Alessandro Francois found hundreds of fragments of the vase that now carries his name while excavating an ancient Etruscan tomb sopra Italy in the mid-1800s. Though found in Italy, the Francois Vase was made around 570 B.C.Ed. sopra Athens, Greece. Sopra antiquity many Athenian vases were exported to Etruria, verso region con Italy where consumers were eager esatto acquire Greek products.

Potter and painter

We know the names of the people who made the Francois Vase because they signed the vessel twice: Kleitias as painter, and Ergotimos as potter. This pair of artists collaborated on at least two other vessels that survive sopra fragments. The unconventional shape of the Francois Vase and its elaborate, well-planned decoration suggest that Kleitias and our teen network Ergotimos were an per.

The Francois Vase is verso arabesque krater (a vessel used for mixing vaso and wine with curling handles) and is likely one of the earliest vases of its type made con Athens. The shape of its handles and its particularly large size create more space for painted decoration, which Kleitias, the painter, took advantage of. Kleitias used the black-figure painting style, which was popular among Athenian artists durante the Archaic period. His rete di emittenti is dense but careful, and his attention preciso labelling figures and objects made his decoration even more legible preciso its original viewers. The neat labels of Greek text that accompany and identify many of the characters on the vase still help us understand its imagery today.

Heroes and gods

The Francois Vase is decorated mediante registers (horizontal bands of decoration sometimes referred to as verso frieze). The main register appears at the center of the vase. It is the tallest register, and is one of only two, onesto show per celibe uninterrupted narrative around the vase’s entire circumference (the other is on the foot of the vase). This register shows the marriage of the hero Peleus onesto the nymph Thetis, verso celebrated event attended by the Greek gods. This popular myth appears on several other vases painted per the early Archaic period, including a bowl made by Sophilos.

Detail with Peleus (center) who stands before his house greeting the centaur Chiron seen beside the goddess Iris (left) at the head of the wedding procession (the inscription identifying the painter can be read under their clasped hands). The seated Thetis (fragmented), can be seen within the house.

Mediante this scene the wedding guests process towards Thetis, who sits con a grand house. Peleus stands outside of the house greeting a wise centaur (centaurs are half-man and half-horse) who will later mentor his and Thetis’s son, Achilles. The painter of the Francois Vase inserted himself into this central scene: beneath the clasped hands of Peleus and the centaur, a painted inscription reads ‘Klitiasmegraphsen,’ or ‘Kl[e]itias made me,’ as if the vase is declaring who painted it. The centaur is followed by female deities and Dionysos, god of wine, who carries an amphora (per jar for transporting wine). Dionysos is depicted with his face turned towards the viewer, which is unusual for Greek art of the time. In fact, Dionysos and Kalliope-per muse playing per wind instrument near Dionysos-are the only 2 human figures with frontal faces on the Francois Vase. More deities follow Dionysos on foot and sopra chariots, and the parade wraps around the vase.