Types of vazopisi Ancient Greece

The study of the vazopisi of ancient Greece is extremely important for understanding the culture of the ancient world. In addition to artistic value, the vessels decorated with paintings and drawings of the most diverse content carry a lot of valuable information about the worldview of people of that distant era. The scenes presented in the vases, allow to judge about the perception of the surrounding reality by the ancient Greeks, since quite often these paintings were excerpts from mythological stories.


When characterizing a vazopi of ancient Greece, it is first necessary to point out some circumstances of the appearance of pottery art among the ancient Greeks, as well as the influence of neighboring cultures on their painting. The blacksmiths and artisans of this country learned how to make clay vessels for a long time - back in the 3rd millennium BC. The first discoveries of ceramics date from this line. The area of ​​their distribution is extremely wide: it covers not only the Balkan Peninsula, but also a number of islands of the Aegean Sea, some areas of Asia Minor.The first examples of vazopisy of ancient Greece were found in the cave Kamares, the name of which determined the name of the whole direction of the style of Cretan masters. The first ornaments were extremely simple: the masters put geometric patterns on the surface of a dark background with white paint. A characteristic feature of the Kamarian style was the use of marine motifs in the drawings.

Early vascular samples

Vessels on which it is possible to judge vazopisi of the Ancient Greece, differ both in a form, and in the mission. The earliest vases were used primarily for practical or ritual purposes. Geometrical vessels were part of the burial rite. They either buried the ashes of the dead, or put objects in the burial places. Vases dating from the XI-IX centuries BC, with a rich geometric pattern, scientists call dipilonian.

vazopisi ancient greece

Their peculiarity is that in them geometric motifs are combined with a somewhat sophisticated composition of the pattern. On these vases there are often primitive schematic representations of people and animals, which can be considered a serious step forward in the development of this kind of art.

New drawings and technologies

Styles of vazopisy of ancient Greece are conventionally divided according to the features of the ornament and technology. The flowering of this particular type of painting was preceded by the appearance of some important innovations that cannot be ignored. In the late dipilonian vases there are elements of the plot. Masters did not just draw geometric figures, but also tried to depict some scenes from the life of ancient Greek society: sports chariots, mourning the deceased, swimming ships and others. The oriental culture had a great influence on the ornament of this period. This was manifested in the image of mythological animals, animals, birds. These innovations preceded a new period in this art.

Vessels of the archaic period

It was at this time that the black-figure vase painting of ancient Greece originated. The emergence of this new trend in art was preceded by the introduction of some important technical improvements of the Greek potters, who learned how to use black lacquer. In addition, they began to add ocher to the clay composition, which gave this substance an orange tint.This allowed the masters to draw on the surfaces of the vases figures of people who stood out particularly well. To give greater expressiveness of the pattern, they began to trace the outlines of the figures in white paint. This style existed for about two centuries - from VI to V c. BC.

Plots of drawings

In the art of ancient Greece, vazopis played an extremely important role. The vessels depicted scenes of life, as well as paintings based on mythology, which allows modern scholars to understand the peculiarities of the worldview of ancient Greek society and its daily life. During this period, masters depicted battles, feasts.

red-figured vase painting of ancient Greece

Their mythological plots were especially popular drawings with the exploits of Hercules and the events of the Trojan War. The pictures turned out to be especially high-quality, when the contours were applied on unbaked clay. In addition to the main plot, plants with geometric patterns were drawn on vessels with black-figure drawings, which now played a supporting role.

Craft centers and craftsmen

The archaic period was marked by the first stage of the flourishing of the vazopi of ancient Greece. The drawings were also made with the addition of white paint, which the masters used to paint the female face. The first center of ceramics was Corinth.At first, it was the masters from this city who set the tone for the peninsula. But soon the Athenian artisans surpassed their teachers in the painting of vessels. On vessels some names of masters (Pasiad, Hares) remained.

vazopisi styles of ancient Greece

The fact that artisans began to sign their works indicates a high level of development of this type of art. In addition to Athens, black-figured vase-painting became widespread in Italy in the art of Etruscans.

A new style

Red-figured vase painting of ancient Greece became widespread from the end of the 6th century BC. er In contrast to the black-figure mural, the masters began to cover the background with black lacquer, leaving the outlines of the figures not painted over. A new style allowed artisans to play in the contrast of colors. For example, some masters began to create the so-called bilingual vases. The peculiarity of these vessels was that on one side the figures were black, on the other - red. Fresh plots appeared along with the new style. In addition to traditional mythological themes, the masters began to pay more attention to scenes from everyday life. Of particular interest are the sketches of the interior of pottery workshops.

black Greek figure of ancient Greece

Another important innovation was that potters began to paint complex architectural compositions, as well as human figures from the back and in revolutions. In the V century BC. er the art of vazopisi spread outside of Greece. We have already said that this type of art has been widely developed among Etruscans. At a specified time, professional workshops appeared in Italy, whose products successfully competed with Greek designs.

The vessels of the IV century BC

Red-figure and black-figure vase painting of ancient Greece was further developed in the pottery art of southern Italy. Here in the first half of this century, the masters began to paint the vessels covered with black varnish, however, when they were filled with color, they used different colors.

art of ancient greece vazopis

Such vases are called gnafii (at the place of discovery of one of the first finds of this type). The feature of the images on these vessels is that they differed in symbolism. For example, one of the most common motives was the symbol of happiness. Also, artists sometimes painted ritual ceremonies and ceremonies.


Separately, it should be said about the technique of vazopi Ancient Greece. The types of this art were discussed above, here it is necessary to briefly characterize the process of drawing a picture. The painters put paint on the surface of the vessels before firing. At first, the clay pots were dried in the sun, after which the craftsmen covered the walls of the vases with a special primer, which served as the basis for the paintings. This solution was made from minerals.

vazisop ancient greece drawings

In addition to brushes of different sizes, artists used compasses, which indicates a high level of development of this craft. In the period of the birth of vazopisi, the artists painted the whole composition at once, but as the plots became more complicated, they began to preliminarily apply the so-called draft version of the scene and only then began to draw the original. After completion of the wizard put an autograph. Sometimes, before sending the product for firing, the price of the vessel was written down below.

Types of vessels

In the heyday of art vazopisi masters invented a special paint, which was applied to the vessels and did not require firing. Such vases, as a rule, were not used in everyday life and were used for religious purposes (they were put in graves). Since the vessels were of various shapes, the scenes differed in scale.Large ceremonial vessels were painted with mythological plots or scenes of festive celebrations (for example, the famous Olympic Games).

red-figure and black-figure vase-painting of ancient Greece

However, a significant part of the VAZ was intended for domestic use. For example, dinosaurs were used to store alcohol, alabaster - for cosmetics. The paintings of such small vessels were more modest, intimate, simple. Some vases were specially painted for feasts, after which they were presented to guests. In addition, ancient masters not only painted vases, but also decorated them with stucco. The greatest skill in this art was achieved by painters from Sicily. In conclusion, it should be said that the art of painting in ancient Greece determined the development of pictorial art for several decades. Actually, the painting itself did not receive much development in this country, but the painting of vessels reached such a high level that it influenced its development in the neighboring areas.

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