Taking the chair: the seated figure in the traditions of Attic black-figure vase-painting and Homeric epic
Lecture by prof. Anne Mackay (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
The pictorial narrative tradition of Attic black-figure vase-painting has much in common with early Greek oral-traditional epic as represented by the Homeric poems, especially in regard to the traditional techniques and strategies by which narrative meaning is constructed within a traditional framework, and so comparative analysis of the visual and verbal means by which narrative is expressed can inform the study of both.
In this paper, which presents a part of a broader study of the various narrative techniques in the archaic painting tradition, the seated figure-type in black-figure scenes will be the focus, and it will be argued that within the tradition this figure encodes a special kind of intrinsic meaning, with variable nuances deriving from specific painted details as well as placement in the picture-field in relation to the other figures. Comparison with what seated figures signify in the Homeric epics will provide some confirmation of the propositions.
Anne Mackay is Associate Professor of Classics at University of Auckland, New Zealand.
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