The Omaha Painter (attributed (Greek, 6th century B.C.),
Attic Black-Figure Ovoid Neck-Amphora
, ca. 570 B.C.
clay, 15 inches high
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Woods, Jr, 1963.480
This amphora, produced in Athens during the Archaic-Classical Period (600–400 B.C.), is an outstanding example of one of the most common shapes in the repertory of functional Greek pottery. Probably used as a decanter to hold liquids, it is termed a “neck-amphora,” because the neck is sharply set off from the body. Almost exclusively exported to the Etruscans as an item of trade by the Greeks, the characteristic features of this type of amphora include the use of Corinthian-inspired color and animal friezes and florals in the lower horizontal bands of decoration. Potters from Corinth, another important pottery-producing city in Greece, had previously controlled Etruscan markets. The Attic potters, realizing that the Etruscan clientele had become accustomed to "Corinthianizing" elements, responded by using consciously old-fashioned Corinthian pottery shapes and color and decorative schemes to make their products more successful.
The designs on Greek pottery pieces were based on scenes from daily life and mythology. The scene here depicts a Greek hero slaying an Amazon. The Amazons, a mythical race of barbarian women who fought as men, are distinguished from male warriors by the contrasting white color of their flesh. The opposite side illustrates an event called a symposium, an early form of the gentlemen’s club. Because the names of the vase painters are not known, identities are assigned based on an aspect of style or the location of an important work. The painter of this amphora was identified and named the "Omaha Painter" by Dr. Dietrich von Bothmer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The only other vase attributed to the Omaha Painter is in the collection of the Louvre.