Lekythos (Oil Bottle)

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Athens, Greece
Lekythos (Oil Bottle), ca. 450–400 BC
White-ground terracotta
12 1/4 × 3 5/8 in. (31.12 × 9.21 cm)
Gift of Alfred F. James M1919.20
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Not Currently on View

This lekythos, or oil bottle, provides a good example of white-ground painting, which came into its own in the High Classical period. In this technique, a matte black glaze was used to paint figures and decorative borders on a neutral white surface. Details were created with pigments of brown, red, and yellow. White-ground lekythoi were preferred as grave offerings, and consequently, many are decorated with subjects related to death. The two figures on this vessel probably represent the deceased and a mourner.

Publication History
Milwaukee Art Institute Bulletin (February 1921).

Milwaukee Art Institute Bulletin (January 1920).

Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 2, 1919, illus.


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.