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Terracotta Loutrophoros (ceremonial Vase for Water)

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                                     [pic 1]

Valentina Dioguardi

Cultural Foundations I, Section 26

November 17th, 2016

Terracotta Loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Ca. 340-330 B.C.

Terracotta; red-figure vase

11.210.3a.b

                     

        Over time, art has been a way in which the sentiments of a culture are expressed. The development of art is reflective of the societies wherein the art is produced. The beauty of art is that it can help people today gain a better understanding and connect to the time period in which the art was created. Upon careful observation of the piece, the first aspect I noticed was the fact that it was vertically taller in comparison to the other vases on display, which were stockier and more round in shape. The color scheme of the vase includes a black background with the drawings in a tan yellow color along with the miniscule details painted in bright orange. I found it rather impressive that the vase managed to stay in such excellent condition all throughout the years, as there is minimal chipping of the paint and the colors retained their intensity without much fading. Still, even the parts where the color is starting to wear off make the vase a perfectly imperfect piece of art.

        The piece features two separate scenes that run horizontally across the vase, one on top of the other. They are separated by a strip of three-dimensional vertical rectangles circling through the middle of the vase. The top half tells the Greek myth of Adonis. One of the women represents Persephone, queen of the underworld and goddess of harvest and fertility.  The other one is Aphrodite. She is the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and seduction. The two floating angels touching their heads seem as though they are divine companions of some sort, offering blessings and protection. In this myth, Adonis was born of the incestuous union between Myrrha and Cinyras, king of Cyprus. Aphrodite left Adonis in the care of Persephone, who raised him and made him her lover. Aphrodite later demanded the youth for herself, but Persephone was unwilling to relinquish him. Zeus, the male deity seated between them, settled the dispute by arranging for Adonis to spend half the year (summer months) above ground with Aphrodite and the other half (winter months) in the underworld with Persephone. This particular myth shows a strong connection between Greek civilization and seasonal change. There is abundant vegetation on this loutrophoros could symbolize rebirth. These include the swirling tree branches that decorate the top of the vase, which appear to mimic the swirling shape of the vase handles, the golden leaves that decorate the top of the vase, and the flowers that line the bottom of the vase.

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