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Greek Art – Vase-Painting

3. Exekias and the Amasis Painter

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About this Lecture


In this module, we focus on the works of two mid-6th century BC painters – Exekias and the Amasis Painter – focusing in particular on: (i) the seriousness of Exekias’ subject-matter; and (ii) the extent to which the Amasis Painter is in conversation with Exekias.

Featured pots:
– Exekias’ Vatican Amphora, later 6th century. Musei Vaticani 16757
– The Dionysus Cup, c. 540-30 BC. Staatliche Antikensammlung, Munich 2044
– Black-figure amphora by Exekias, c. 545-30 BC. Antikensammlung, Berlin 1718
– Suicide of Ajax Vase, c. 575-25 BC. Musee Communale, Boulogne 558
– Dionysus and Two Maenads, c.540-35 BC. Cabinet des Medailles, Paris 222
– Terracotta kylix, attributed to the Amasis Painter, c. 540 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1989.281.62
– Terracotta kylix, attributed to the Amasis Painter, c. 520 BC. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 10.651


In this course, Professor Robin Osborne (University of Cambridge) explores vase-painting in the Greek world from the eighth century to the middle of the fifth century BC, tracing a narrative that includes each of the vases on the OCR A Level Classical Civilization specification (H408), as well as several that are not on the specification. In the first module, we concentrate on the Dinos of the Gorgon Painter, and think about the ways it might be seen as a ‘transitional’ piece. In the second module, we look at the Sophilos Dinos and the François Vase, before turning in the third module to the works of Exekias and the Amasis Painter. In the fourth module, we think about the transition to the red-figure technique and the group of painters known as the Pioneers, before turning in the fifth module to trace the development of the red-figure style into the mid-5th century BC, from the densely-packed arrangements of the Kleophrades Painter to the minimalism of the Berlin Painter and beyond. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the development of Greek art more generally in this period and ask whether Greek vase-painting undergoes a comparable ‘revolution’ to that seen in freestanding sculpture.

Note on referencing: pots are cited using their conventional name if applicable (e.g. ‘The Eleusis Amphora’) or (if not) their shape and the name of the painter of not (e.g. ‘Kylix attributed to the Berlin Painter’). We have also included details of estimated production date and the museum/collection in which the pot can currently be found (e.g. Dinos of the Gorgon Painter, c. 580 BC. Louvre E 874). Further details which might be of interest (e.g. height and diameter, painting style, etc.) can be found on museum websites.


Robin Osborne is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and of the British Academy. He works on Greek History (political, social, economic, cultural) and Greek Archaeology (field archaeology and art history) between 1000 B.C. and 200 B.C, and has published extensively across a range of topics.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Osborne, R. (2021, February 02). Greek Art – Vase-Painting - Exekias and the Amasis Painter [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Osborne, R. "Greek Art – Vase-Painting – Exekias and the Amasis Painter." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 02 Feb 2021,

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