Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

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Collections / Sections / Greek collection

Corinthian pottery

In the 8th century BC Corinth became one of Greece’s most active centres for the production and exportation of pottery. Its workshops used a distinctive pale yellow clay that was initially decorated in a geometric style. In the final decades of the 8th century BC, however, thanks to the rapid assimilation of the decorative and iconographic motifs of the eastern Mediterranean, Corinthian painters developed a figured style characterized by processions of real and fantastical animals, as well as narrative scenes – including mythological ones – that, on the body of the vases, were alternated with extremely decorative ones such as meanders, lotus blossoms and palmettes. The technique was that of a black silhouette against the light ground of the clay; the details inside the figures were incised and delineated with additional colours such as purple and white.

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The collection documents the entire time span of this production, from the transition of the earliest Proto-Corinthian style to Corinthian (650–625 BC) and Late Corinthian (500–350 BC) pottery, with pieces in the figured style as well as simpler types with a banded decoration. The forms are those most representative of this class, represented by vessels used for wine consumption – amphorae, oinochoai and, above all, cups (kylikes and kotylai) – but there are also numerous perfume containers (aryballoi and alabastra)

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Exhibition rooms | Rooms V and VI - Greek collection