By the term “pottery” we mean the art of the potter, one of the oldest and most widespread arts.
The objective of pottery is the manufacture of clay products baked at high temperatures, in order to be tough and durable. As one of the oldest human occupations, pottery was necessary to make items required for storing and transporting mostly liquids (due to the clay’s watertight property as a material).
The vases were made on the wheel, followed by the union of the individual parts, drying, decoration and baking. The whole procedure was depicted in a series of paintings found near Corinth, while the first mention of the geometric wheel was made by Homer.
During the Hellenistic period, there were many decorative ways (written, engraved, inlaid) and therefore the ceramics of this era simply used the term Hellenistic. The construction of black-figure vases was common, with their immersion in black Canopus, while after 100 B.C. the production of red-figure pottery has started. Most Roman vases were red-figured. Also, throughout the course of ancient times, we have unpainted pottery as well.
(1050-900 BC) : The term refers to the prevalence of geometric shapes in the decoration of ceramics. During Protogeometric Age a new, faster potter’s wheel was evolved and the use of multiple brush has began, to create concentric circles or semicircles in the decoration of vases.
Separated in the Early (900-850 BC), Middle (850-750 BC) and Late Geometric period (760/750-700 BC). In the Early period, the surface of the pot is covered with black paint and glaze, while bands with bright geometric jewelry were added. During the Middle period, large pots were build, serving as burial markers. Great example of this period is the amphora of Dipylon, with a height of 1,5 meters. The technique of decoration was the silhouette, which means that the forms rendered black with no details or depth.
About 730 BC the black-figure style appears in Corinth, probably derived from oriental influences, particularly from similar work in metal or ivory.We have representations of animals and plants, while the curved lines predominate. Large pots were made, along with perfume oil bottles used by athletes.
In the same period, artists in Athens gone beyond the geometric pattern but do not use engraving to outline the forms. Protoattic pottery is divided into Early (700-675 BC), Middle (675-650 BC) and Late (650-630 BC). During this period we have over-sized jewelry, lines are curvilinear and zigzags, and mythological scenes. Popural shapes were loutrophoros amphora and loutrophoros urn. Famous vase of Protoattic pottery is the amforea of Polyphemus, located in Elefsina museum bearing the representation of blinding the Cyclops and in the main belt the tracking of Perseus by mermaids is depicted. Also, the Ulysses’s partners are rendered in silhouette, but he the hero with an outline and white.
From 600 BC, Athens black-figure style surpasses Corinthian and dominates the Mediterranean markets. Many black-figure vases found in graves of the Etruscan necropolis, the discovery of which in the 18th century along with the creation of the first collections in the second half of the century, began the interest in Greek pottery.
The red-painted style was probably created from students of Exekias, in the workshop of Andokides. The first ampforeas of this new style, known as bilingual, have a black-figure representation on one side and a red-figure (of different subject) on the other.