Magna Graecia, Southern Italy, Apulia, ca. 4th century BCE. A lovely trefoil spouted oinochoe, beautifully decorated via the red-figure technique to depict a nude youth who sits while spinning thread and looks back over his shoulder. A large stylized palmette adorns the area below the strap handle, and an egg-and-dart band embellishes the neck, just below the trefoil spout. Finally, white fugitive pigment was used to delineate the thread, headdress, and details in the field as shown. A beautiful example replete with a timeless form, a rare scene, and expert attention to detail! Size: 4″ in diameter x 6.375″ H (10.2 cm x 16.2 cm)
Perhaps the most exciting innovation in Greek vase painting was the red-figure technique, invented in Athens around 525 BCE and beloved by other artists of Magna Graecia. The red-figure technique allowed for much greater flexibility as opposed to the black-figure technique, for now the artist could use a soft, pliable brush rather than a rigid metal graver to delineate interior details, play with the thickness of the lines, as well as build up or dilute glazes to create chromatic effects. The painter would create figures by outlining them in the natural red of the vase, and then enrich these figural forms with black lines to suggest volume, at times perspectival depth, and movement, bringing those silhouettes and their environs to life. Beyond this, fugitive pigments made it possible for the artist to create additional layers of interest and detail as we see in this example.