Orestes At Delphi Krater Analysis

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This piece of artwork is a krater decorated using the red-figure technique. This krater is used to illustrate the story of the purification of Orestes at Delphi. In this scene, Orestes and his sister Elektra are seeking safety in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. They’re hiding from the furies who are known for punishing wrongdoers. In the temple, the artist draws Apollo himself standing before the two temple visitors (Plaque Title). The artist doesn’t leave any of the vase unpainted. The scene itself spans the whole front of the vase, with another on the back. Where the krater’s lip curves out, he uses a vine pattern. At the bottom of the krater is another pattern. This gives the krater a very complete, decorated look.
This type of vase is
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It’s one of the two most used techniques for painting clay vases and kraters like this one, the other common technique being black-figure amphora. The red-figure technique gives a little more freedom to the artist than black-figure does, because the red-figure allows the artist to paint intricate details into the figures they’re painting. The black-figure, being as dark as it is, is mainly used with a silhouetted art style. The figures of this technique not carrying nearly as much minute detail. The red-figure technique is done by first firing the red clay pottery by itself. Once this was done, the artist would apply a slip to the krater. The slip, which was another layer of clay but thinner, was applied to be the background of the krater scene. Once it was fired at a certain temperature for a set amount of time, the slip would turn black (Montgomery, Red-Figure Pottery). This would make it so that the figures are the colors of the original red clay, making it easier to paint the details inside of the figures. Because of this, red-figure soon became far more popular than black-figure because of the new possibilities it gave to pottery painters (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Athenian Vase Painting: Black- and Red-Figure

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