Exekias

Datesactive 540 - 520 B.C.
RolesArtist, Painter, Potter
NationalityGreek (Attic)

Exekias worked as a potter and vase-painter in the black-figure technique in Athens from about 540 to 520 B.C. He began his career as a potter for a workshop of vase-painters who are collectively known as Group E. At some point, he separated from Group E and began to decorate vases as well as potting them.

Exekias was a remarkably innovative artist, and his work as both a potter and painter made him especially sensitive to the relationship between a vase's form and its decoration. As a potter, he appears to have invented new shapes and redesigned old ones. As a painter, his work was incredibly detailed and took advantage of the engraving-like quality of the black-figure technique. Scholars admire the dignity and solemnity of Exekias's figures and the new ways in which he depicted standard Greek myths. Rather than showing the action of the story, as was the usual habit of artists at this time, Exekias chose to depict the moment before or after the action, introducing a new emphasis on the psychology of a scene. He also may have invented a new vase-painting technique called coral red, in which parts of the vase intentionally fire red, rather than the usual black.