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Friday, April 17, 2015

Hippalektryon

Hippalektryon
c. 530-520 BC

Glazed terracotta drinking vessels in classical Greece often featured a little round picture at the bottom of the cup that would be revealed after the contents had been swallowed. Above, a youth shown astride a fantastical combination of horse and rooster called Hippalektryon. Below, the mythic Gorgoneion.

Gorgoneion
c. 520 BC

Curators at the Metropolitan Museum confess that many of the glazed images are even today  after centuries of cumulative research  only partially understood. The maenad immediately below appears to be releasing a bird as part of a ritual, yet no source in surviving literature mentions any connection between maenads and birds. The kylix decorated with this particular maenad was also 'shaved' in antiquity, meaning that the outer rim of pottery was removed to leave only a round image on a base, transforming an object of use into an object of art with no use other than contemplation.

Maenad with Bird (shaved)
c. 510-500 BC
 
Maenad with Bird (shaved)
c. 520-500 BC

Young athletes below, paired with elders acting as coaches or trainers.

Athlete
c. 460-450 BC

Athlete
c. 480 BC

A theme which segues into depictions of men and youths engaging in ritualized intimacies 

Seated Poet
c. 490-480 BC

Man Offering Money to Youth
c. 480-470 BC

Symposium
c. 430 BC

Finally, the inevitable glorification of the Greek soldier  1) clad in armor, 2) sounding war trumpet, and 3) with horse.

Contemplative Warrior 
c. 500 BC

Sounding Battle Trumpet
500 BC

Soldier with Horse
c. 510-500 BC