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2. The Sophilos Dinos and the François Vase
About this Lecture
In this module, we focus on two highly-decorated two mixing vessels, the Sophilos Dinos and the François Vase, focusing in particular on: (i) the changes that were taking place in Athens around 600 BC, and the importance of the symposium as a context in which pottery was used and displayed; (ii) the central (literally) importance of the mixing-bowl in the symposium, of which both the Sophilos Dinos and the François Vase are examples; (iii) the possibility that the François Vase was based on a bronze prototype, and the popularity of bronze (as opposed to ceramic) vessels in general; (iv) the importance of the artist in the 6th century BC, and the changing relationship between the viewer and the pot; (v) the extent to which we see more positive subject-matter on pottery in the 6th century BC, and the possible reasons that Sophilos chose to depict a wedding; and (vi) the extent to which the numerous mythological scenes on the François Vase relate to one another, and the reason that the vase depicts such a variety of different scenes.
– Dinos of the Gorgon Painter, c. 580 BC. Louvre E 874
– The Sophilos Dinos, c. 580-70 BC. British Museum 1971,1101.1
– The François Vase, mid 6th century. Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale 4209
– The Nessos Painter’s Name Vase, late 7th century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Athens 1002
– The Eleusis Amphora, c. 675-50 BC. Archaeological Museum of Eleusis 2630
– Fragment of dinos by Sophilos, c. 600-550 BC. National Archaeological Museum of Athens 15499
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
Osborne, R. (2021, February 02). Greek Art – Vase-Painting - The Sophilos Dinos and the François Vase [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/greek-art-vase-painting/the-sophilos-dinos-and-the-francois-vase
Osborne, Robin. "Greek Art – Vase-Painting – The Sophilos Dinos and the François Vase." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 02 Feb 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/greek-art-vase-painting/the-sophilos-dinos-and-the-francois-vase