Oil Jar Fragment with Papposilenos
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Attributed to the Workshop of the Darius Painter
Greek, Apulia, South Italy, about 350 - 325 B.C.
5 13/16 x 4 13/16 in.

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A silenos, or old satyr, a part-human, part-animal creature, reclines and plays the double flutes on this vase fragment. Companions of Dionysos, the god of wine, satyrs lived in a world of hedonistic pleasure. This silenos entertains himself by resting on a full wineskin. His white beard and tail, as well as the tufts of white hair covering his body, convey his advanced age. A small piece of a comic mask is visible just along the break on the upper left side of the fragment. This scene pokes fun at a popular contemporary scene on vases, that of Dionysos reclining on a couch at a banquet with a comic mask hanging in the background. Here the satyr mimics his master. This fragment comes from a squat lekythos, an oil vessel. The vase displays the lavish use of color favored by artists and their customers in the Greek colonies in Italy. This vase combines the red-figure technique used for the main design with the Gnathia technique of added color for the pattern work, a combination frequently used on small vases produced by the Workshop of the Darius Painter.