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

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Object Description

An acrobatic drinker bends over to the left while drinking from a wine cup (painted white), lifting his leg up high and bending it to expose his backside and penis. He supports himself with just his left hand and right foot on the ground. His posture suggests a drunken dare, or a provocation at a symposium.

The figure is rendered in what is called Six’s Technique, named after the Dutch scholar Jan Six. This method of decoration flourished briefly in Athens in the late sixth century B.C., and involves painting a vase black, and then applying figures or ornament in red, orange, or white. Details can be incised, revealing the black beneath, as seen here for the youth’s eye and musculature.

A reserved band with an ivy pattern runs just below the rim of the vase. On the body, the ground line is rendered in red, and a second band runs below it. Further down, in a reserved zone, are three thin black bands, a frieze of alternating black and red tongues, and two more thin bands. Black gloss is spattered on both the lower and upper reserved ornamental borders, and the painter accidentally smeared one of the black tongues, preserving his fingerprint. The underside of the foot is reserved, save for a black ring.

- 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.

Smith, Tyler Jo. "Bodies in Motion. Dance, Gesture, and Ritual on Greek Vases." Greek and Roman Musical Studies 9 (2021), 85-114, 67-68, fig. 10.