When I visited The Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Greek vessel collection really caught my eye. After studying archaic vase painting in class, I was very excited to see some authentic examples of this art. I was most impressed with an attic red-figure kylix, otherwise not titled, from c. 480 B.C. This particular cup was signed by Douris as the vase-painter, and is attributed to Python for the pottery. This kylix is made out of terracotta and is approximately 6 inches tall and 12 inches in diameter. The kylix lends itself to two different works of art: that of the actual potted cup, and the decorative art on it. .
Python's kylix has a broad shallow bowl with two horizontal handles on opposite sides with a high foot. Most Greek cups were made of terracotta, or baked clay. Cups like this were used in ancient Greece for drinking wine. A symposium, or drinking party, was a favorite social event in many Greek cities. The host of a symposium needed a set of elaborately decorated cups for serving and consuming the wine. The broad inner surface of the cup offers a large circular area for decoration. Painters used such subjects as Greek mythology and politics in decorating the kylixs, so as to generate something interesting to look at and talk about while drinking their wine.
Douris utilized the inner and outer surfaces of this kylix for his art. A thick black band circumferences the painting on the inner surface of the cup. Then another decorative band with alternating geometric shapes borders the depiction of a bearded figure sitting at an altar on the left side, holding a drinking cup that a younger man fills with wine from a pitcher. The older man is thought to be one of the legendary kings of Athens, Kekrops. .
On the exterior of the kylix, Douris paints two different scenes, separated by a swirling floral design around the handles. On one side, two bearded men on the left stand facing each other, holing a staff in one arm and resting the other arm across the chest.