Attic Black Figure Amphora Analysis

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The Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology holds numerous pieces of artwork from all different time periods. What makes each of these pieces distinguishable are the specific style and details incorporated, as each civilization from each different era had techniques that were followed that would define their artwork as their own. Progression was shown through the use of emerging techniques. This is shown specifically in a piece at the Museum entitled the Attic Black- Figure Amphora, an ancient Greek piece that has certain elements integrated that was innovative for the time. This work by Exekias is an interpretation and narrative of Greek heroes and myths while showing the progression in the artist’s style over the last few centuries. …show more content…
During this time, art was mainly created to tell a story, typically being the narrative of Greek heroes and Gods or myths. Here we see four figures: Ajax, Achilles, Menelaus and Amasos. Ajax, on the right side of the image, bends down to lift Achilles’ dead body, while to the left we see Menelaus about to strike one of Memnon’s black attendants, Amasos. This scene puts into play a few major themes in this piece. War and death are most prevalent, but there is also the representation of human will through action. This is seen in Menelaus’s movement to protect Achilles. The artist included names above each character, making it easier to identify what is happening in the scene. It is reasonable to conclude that it represents Homer’s Epic Poem Iliad, showing the death of Achilles and eventually leading to the fall of the city of Troy. Exekias’ Attic Black-Figure Amphora represents a specific scene from Iliad, documenting the events that occurred during the Trojan War. Even though this historical event was well-known for its significance in history, any other meaning or message was not made clear. However, the intention of this particular piece can be identified as a work produced to show the strength of these Greek heroes and the religious culture of the Greeks, dependent on beliefs and …show more content…
Unlike most, Exekias signed his work. This was a defining element that allowed for the piece to be classified into a certain period. Although we can identify the artist, the patron is still unknown.
The progressive nature executed from Exekias is what makes the Attic Black-Figure Amphora so distinct. By using the dramatic form of the black-figure technique to further illustrate the scene from Iliad, along with annexing the innovative detail of signing his work, Exekias interpreted the Greek myth while progressing both his style and taking a step forward with Greek

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