Syriskos

Datesactive 480 - 460 B.C.
RolesPainter, Potter
NationalityGreek (Attic)

Syriskos worked as a vase-painter and potter in Athens in the 470s and 460s B.C. The vases by Syriskos include a variety of shapes and even some unusual ones. As a vase-painter, he worked mainly in the red-figure technique, but he occasionally painted white-ground vases. He painted scenes of myth and everyday life in a fairly conventional style. As with other artists who both potted and painted, Syriskos's days as a painter may have preceded his potting.

The case of Syriskos provides insight into the social status of potters in Athens. Changes in the way in which he signed his works may trace his ascent through Athenian society. The name Syriskos means "little Syrian" and probably indicates that he was a slave, as many potters and painters appear to have been. The "Syriskos" signatures of this artist appear early in his career. Later, vases were signed Pistoxenos Syriskos, "Trustworthy stranger, the little Syrian," and, finally, just Pistoxenos. The change in name may indicate a new free status for a former slave.

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