Corinthian vase
The Collection of Senex Caecilius

The object on the left is a Corinthian black-figured vase (ca. 1989). Corinth invented the black-figure technique: black silhouette with incised details on a pale yellow or white ground. Plant and animal motifs are typical of the Corinthian style of painting.

An image of a black-figured olpe (ca. 630-615 B.C.) illustrates the animal motif with sphinx, ibis, and lion that encircle the vase in four different zones.

A black-figured column krater (ca. 560 B.C.) depicts the mission of Menelaos and Odysseus to Troy to ask for a peaceful surrender of Helen.


In addition to being used to designate a region of ancient Greece, you may have heard the term "Corinthian" used in a different manner. As a noun it can mean either a man about town or a wealthy amateur sportsman, especially an amateur yachtsman. As an adjective, it often means licentious; profligate; given to luxury.

For additional information on Greek painting, you can consult these references:

  • An illustrated article by Chris Dirksen on Greek Painting covers the various historical styles of painting on pottery, murals, and panels.
  • A related article discusses the various shapes and uses of Greek pottery: alabastron, amphora, aryballos, hydria, krater, kylix, lekythos, oinochoe, pyxis, and stamnos.
  • An excellent collection of images at the University of Haifa contains over 200 examples of Greek works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and other forms.


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