Well-Wishers

This animation was created when we celebrated 50,000 views of the Panoply animations.

It shows well-wishers with a warrior who’s leaving for war.

about the animation

 

On this amphora we see a young warrior being wished well as he leaves for a military campaign.  He shakes the hand of an older male figure – perhaps his father – whose hair has been outlined with black slip but not filled in, creating the impression of white hair.  The warrior is well-prepared for his campaign, with a long thrusting spear, a back-up sword, and a traveller’s hat (called a petasos) to keep sunstroke at bay.

A second male well-wisher is in-between the ages of the two central men, bearded but not yet grey.  On the far left, a woman prepares to pour a libation offering; she holds a phiale dish in her left hand and a small jug in her right.  Like the man on the right, the woman is bent forward to fit neatly into the curve of the vase, accentuating the focus on the warrior.

The handshake, or dexiosis, with a departing warrior became quite a frequently reproduced scene, and – with wars flaring up in most years of the classical period – was one that lots of families would recognise from their own lives.

© Jean-David Cahn AG

(www.cahn.ch)

 

The amphora is the work of an artist now known as the Leningrad Painter.  He was named after the city (now St. Petersburg) where many of his pieces are housed and where his personal style was first recognised.  The Leningrad Painter was an early mannerist painter, working in the early to mid-fifth-century BCE.

 

The mannerists were a group of artists known for depicting somewhat exaggerated gestures and for their fondness for scenes that were unusual or drawn from daily life.

 

The Leningrad Painter in particular is noted for the way he depicts people as tall and slim with relatively small heads.

© Milan, Torno Collection, C278

This hydria vase is also by the Leningrad Painter.  He has styled the folds of cloth with more details than he used on the dexiosis vase, yet we can see the similarity in his depiction of the figures’ proportions and in the use of repeating points in the decorative boarders.

 

The scene shows a potters’ workshop, where the potters are busy decorating a variety of styles of vase, including a female potter (on the far right).  They are honoured by a visit from Athena and her companions who are crowning the potters with laurel wreaths symbolising victory and excellence.  The Leningrad Painter has imagined potters receiving the sort of recognition normally reserved for victorious athletes, musicians, or generals.  They are all honoured, except for the female potter who’s been left out.  Her exclusion from the prizes gives us some insight in to possible resentment or disdain towards female co-workers, but her depiction is also interesting evidence of an acknowledgement of female labour in the potters’ workshops of classical Athens.

 

vase details

 

Red figure type B amphora.  Attic (from in or around Athens).  Classical, c.470-450BCE.  Beazley vase number 9028595.  Private collection.  Source image with permission of Jean-David Cahn AG (www.cahn.ch).

 

follow-up viewing

 

Warriors at Troy:  Clash of the Dicers

A soldier’s adventure:  Medusa

A full campaign:  Hoplites! Greeks at War

further reading

 

A. Driscoll, 'The Pig Painter: Parties, Poets, and Pollaiuolo’, in The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, vol. 80.3, 1993, pp.83-111

 

T. Mannack, The Late Mannerists in Athenian Vase-Painting,

(OUP, 2001)

 

M. Robertson, The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens,

(CUP, 1992)

follow-up activities

 

1) This is a scene in which a warrior is departing for war.  Ask your students to work in groups to create dialogue for the animation.  Once they’re ready they can perform it with the animation playing along with them.  The activity could also be extended – what might the characters say to each other after the warrior has left?

 

2) After watching the animation together, challenge your students to find out more about ancient Greek warfare.  What war might a warrior like this one be heading off to?

 

3) Make print-outs of the image of the vase and ask your students to identify and label as many parts of the image as they can (this could include parts of the vase, such as 'neck’ and 'handle’, as well as parts of the image, such as 'spear’ and 'jug’).  This will help them to learn to look closely and to notice and interpret details.

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Except where otherwise noted, content on www.panoply.org.uk by S.Simons & S.Nevin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.