The J. Paul Getty Museum

Fragmentary Attic Skyphos in Six's Technique

Object Details


Fragmentary Attic Skyphos in Six's Technique


Attributed to near the Theseus Painter (Greek (Attic), active about 510 - about 490 B.C.)
Attributed to the Heron Class (Greek (Attic), active 520 - 480 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


about 510–500 B.C.



Object Number:



15.8 cm (6 1/4 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Lynda and Max Palevsky

See more

See less

Object Description

On this preserved section of recomposed fragments of a large drinking cup-or skyphos--a man balances himself on his right foot as he lifts his left leg and drinks from a large white cup. Individual figures in amusing poses were often used to decorate red-figured drinking cups destined for use in the symposion. But rather than leaving the background in red clay according to the red-figure tradition, the red figure on this skyphos has been applied to the surface of the vase with thick, bright red paint atop a black gloss ground. The details of the youth's anatomy have been incised into the red paint with such precision that only the black gloss is penetrated--the red clay beneath it remains covered. His hair is bound by a fillet painted in the purplish added red that is traditional; likewise red is also the color used for the double groundline on which he balances. His cup, which he grasps by the stem of the foot, was painted in added white on top of the black gloss. This convention typically works better in black-, rather than red-figure, technique. An alternating red and black tongue ornament encircles the complete vase. Notably, the painter seems to have accidentally spattered black gloss on portions of the borders, smearing one of the tongues directly beneath the drinker's right foot. There, he left his fingerprint.

This cup offers an example of Six's Technique, named after Dutch scholar Jan Six, who first studied it. It features white, red, and orange designs painted atop of a black-gloss ground, and often includes delicately incised silhouette. The technique was invented around the same time as the red-figure technique, in approximately 525 B.C. Both feature a light-on-dark appearance that contrasts with the dark-on-light effect of the older black-figure technique.

- 1976

Max Palevsky and Lynda Palevsky (Los Angeles, California), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976.

Painting on Vases in Ancient Greece (March 20 to April 22, 1979)
  • Laband Gallery, Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), March 20 to April 22, 1979
The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases (June 8 to September 4, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), June 8 to September 4, 2006

Grossman, Janet Burnett. "Six's Technique at the Getty," Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum, 5. Occasional Papers on Antiquities, 7 (1991), pp. 13-26, figs. 2a-c.

Borgers, Olaf.The Theseus Painter: Style, Shapes and Iconography. Vol. 16, (Amsterdam : Allard Pierson Series, 2004), cat. no. N65; nn.166, 639.

Cohen, Beth, ed. The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006), pp. 94-95, cat. no. 21, fig. 21.

Cohen, Beth. "The Colors of Clay: Combining Special Techniques on Athenian Vases." In Papers on Special Techniques on Athenian Vases. Edited by K. Lapatin (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2008), p.7.

Oakley, John H. The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013), p. 143, fig. 6.

Malagardis, Nassi. Skyphoi Attiques à Figures Noires. Typologie et Recherches-Ateliers et Peintres (Athens: Bibliothèque de la Sociététe Archèologique d'Athènes, 2017), 85.