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Exekias Belly Amphora. Produced by Pare and Ngapoko. Attribution Details. Name : Exekias Belly Amphora When made : 540-530 BC Size : 61cm Potter : Exekias Painter : Exekias . How is the painter identified?. Exekias was known to be a painter that painted with exquisite detail.

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exekias belly amphora

Exekias Belly Amphora

Produced by Pare and Ngapoko

attribution details
Attribution Details

Name: Exekias Belly Amphora

When made: 540-530 BC

Size: 61cm

Potter: Exekias

Painter: Exekias

how is the painter identified
How is the painter identified?
  • Exekias was known to be a painter that painted with exquisite detail.
  • Highly original in not only his painting style but also the shape of the vases that he paints
  • Instead of small friezes that cover the whole vase he would only use one LARGE frieze.
the shape
The Shape
  • Vase shape: Belly Amphora
    • Amphora is a two handled vase for the storage.
    • Used for carrying/storing wine, oil, grain, etc.







what makes this amphora different to other amphorae
What makes this amphora different to other amphorae?
  • Exekias continues with the Grand Style of Attic black figure painting.
    • Grand Style- One Frieze on the vase
    • Miniature style of the Francois Vase which is several small friezes
  • The detail in the of the figures are arranged in a more formal composition
  • Belly Amphora has a much larger neck. The belly is almost as broad high. Flanged, decorated handles were not used for belly amphora’s except for this one.
  • The foot of the vase is stepped and moulded into two parts.
what part did the painter play in the creation of this shape
What part did the painter play in the creation of this shape?
  • The painter who is Exekias painted with exquisite detail and made the vases that he painted highly original. Not just in painting style but also the shape of the vase. Exekias painted the two figures bodies to the shape of the vase.
where does the handle join the vase
Where does the handle join the vase?
  • The top of the handle on the right and left hand side both join to the neck of the vase, and the bottom of the handles join at the shoulder of the vase.
how would you describe the shape of the handles
How would you describe the shape of the handles?
  • The handles of the vase together for half of a heart.
  • They are both flattened.
  • Their graceful flare is emphasized by the chain of ivy leaves which decorate the outer side of the handles
four different types of inscriptions
Four different types of Inscriptions.


The scene

  • Three next to Ajax
  • Four next to Achilles
  • Exekias signature
  • Kalos can be seen at the back of Ajax and it reads “ Onerides is beautiful”
  • Most significant inscription reads “ Exekias painted and made me” this can be found on the rim of the vase.
the scene or t he myth
The scene or The Myth
  • Achilles and Ajax- This scene is from the last poem about the Trojan War. Achilles who is on the left and Ajax who is on the right are playing a board game. They weren't aware of the enemy approaching and were still playing when the Trojans attacked.
the characters
The Characters
  • On the Left side is the Warrior Achilles. This is known because it is said that Achilles always wore his Corinthian Helmet with the horsehair crest.
  • On the right hand side is Ajax bare headed. His helmet hangs above his shield.
  • They are both sitting on boxes.
psychological tension
Psychological tension
  • Exekias is the master of psychological tension because it was stated that and Greek who saw the painting on the vase would have known exactly what was going to happen.
painting technique1
Painting technique
  • Silhouette-
    • The colour of his body .
    • The Corinthian Helmet
    • The Black figure it self.
  • Incised detail-
    • The detail that has been incised into Achilles cape.
    • The incising of the muscles on his leg to show and effect of the muscle.
    • The facial hair on his face through his beard there are straight lines in it.
  • Added colour-
    • Purple and white was used to enliven detail
painting technique2
Painting technique

Black figure

  • Figure painted in silhouette
    • Silhouette is a figure that’s all black
  • Detail is put through incising
    • Incising is cutting into
  • Purple and white used as added colours to enliven detail.
    • But due to the fragility of the colours the chipped of over the years
painting technique3
Painting Technique


  • The figure was completely filled in with blackslip. The clay surface outside the figure was left untouched. Leaving the lighter coloured orange-red as a background
  • The slip was applied with many brushes.
  • DETAILS then added to the figure through incising with a sharp instrument, so that the lighter coloured clay underneath showed through creating a pattern.
  • The firing process turned the slip a glossy black, contrasting with the orange-red clay.
  • The composition of the vase is balanced and symmetrical. In the centre is the game table and is framed by the figures of Achilles and Ajax.
  • There is also and elaborate double lotus and palmette motif in a frieze across the top of the scene.
symmetry lines
Symmetry Lines

The two central figure form a triangle.

The figure of Achilles and Ajax are symmetrical and this accentuated by the spears and shields.

A reverse triangle Is also formed by the spears of the warriors.

The spears bisects the first triangle and emphasizes the heads of the warriors as the main focus.

Both the spears continues right up and through both of the handles

The shields follow the line of the handles

The curving of the warriors bodies follow the shape of the vase.

There is only one ground line



  • Horsehair tailing down helmet
  • Bulge of the leather corselet under cloak
  • Extra glaze to give Achilles’ curl body


  • Incised with incredible detail
  • Panels are filled with stars spirals and flowers
  • These are all influenced by Corinthian Orientalising technique.


    • Flat and 2Dimensional.
    • Natural look
    • Achilles cloak is heavily decorated. Added colour of use


  • Muscles are incised
    • No attempt to show them


  • Intricately incised pattern.
  • Shields
    • Achilles shield has a Satyrs head in high relief.
    • Boeotian shield-archaic.
    • Used for scenes from heroic mythology
    • Ajax shield is intricately detailed.
    • Bearded gorgons head between two writhing snakes
    • The shied leans on the edge of the panel and mirroring Achilles shield