Red-figure Pottery is a type of Greek vase painting that was developed approximately 530 BCE in Athens. The figures in red-figure ceramics are formed in the actual red-orange of the clay. Lines might be painted onto the figures rather than scraped out, allowing for more detail than in black-figure pottery. The term "red figure" comes from the color of these figures.
The development of red-figure painting is usually dated to about 530 BCE, but some scholars date it as early as 750 BCE. It replaced the earlier style known as black-figure painting (which can be seen in remnants today). Red-figure pottery was popular until about 400 BCE, when it was replaced by white-ground pottery under the influence of Corcyra. Around 300 BCE, red-figure artists started to make paintings on blue-and-white vases instead.
There were many factors behind the decline of red-figure art. One reason may have been the growing popularity of white-ground pottery, which is easier to paint and therefore cheaper to produce. Also, since women tended to make up the majority of those who made pots, they would probably prefer to use black-figure if available because it is easier for them to see. Finally, during the 4th century BCE, many artists moved to Athens after the destruction of their colonies, so there was no longer much demand for red-figure artwork from abroad.
... cups and vases on red-figure Greek pottery from the late sixth or early fifth century bc. These are the first examples of this type of ware, which is now recognized as one of the classic styles of ancient Greek painting.
The term "red figure" comes from the traditional color used to decorate them. The figures were often painted in full color, except for the clothing they wore, which was usually black or dark brown. Today these vessels are known as "black-figure" or "brown-figure," depending on the colors used by the artists.
The development of red figure painting can be traced back to about 565 bc, when an artist named Leochares produced a number of paintings that for the first time included colored shapes next to each other without any outline or boundary between them. This new technique allowed for much more detail than had been possible before, including the depiction of hair and fabrics. It also meant that the painter no longer needed to use just one color but could combine several.
About 20 years later, another artist named Aiakos produced works that not only showed detailed scenes with many different colors but also used transparent glazes to highlight parts of the image while leaving others dark.
Pottery with red figures. In the sixth century BCE, Athens was the first to use the red-figure method. Prior to this time, the black-figure ceramic method was widely used. The background was painted in black slip (rather than the people), and relief lines were employed for detailing. Figures were outlined in white and then colored in with a brush and thin slivers of wood.
The black-figure technique reached its peak around 550-500 BCE, after which time it was largely replaced by the red-figure method. The reason for this is not clear but may be due to the fact that the black figure looks better when viewed from a distance while the red figure looks more effective when close up.
At first glance it might seem that the red figure style came later because of its detailed nature but that's actually when it became popularized. Before this time there were only a few pieces made using the red figure method but afterwards it became the most popular style. The black figure style remained popular until about 50 years after Christ's death when it began to decline.
During the period of 550-500 BCE there were probably already artists in Greece who were using the red figure method to make pots. However, it wasn't until much later that these artists started to produce so many pieces that they can be considered pioneers of the style. The first known artist to do so was an Athenian named Myron.
Painting of a figural Greek vase One of the most prominent styles of figural Greek vase painting is red-figure vase painting. It was invented approximately 520 BC in Athens and lasted in use until the late 3rd century BC. It quickly supplanted the formerly dominating style of black-figure vase painting. The techniques used by the painters of red-figure are similar to those used today, although improvements were later made. The figures are usually painted in red, but sometimes also in black or white. The background is often decorated in blue and yellow, with orange and purple for accents. The faces of the people are generally indistinct, but their expressions can be guessed at from their body language.
The term "red-figure" comes from the fact that many of the vessels were actually painted with a thin coating of red ochre paint which then had to be covered with a transparent glaze to protect it against damage or further decoration. When light shines through this glaze, it gives off a reddish color - hence the name.
Figures on red-figure vases are usually drawn lightly in outline first, then filled in with pigment. They are generally standing up straight, with arms by their sides and heads tilted slightly forward. The eyes are usually small and closed, but some portraits show the head being painted in full face view.
In general, women are painted with less detail than men.