The Brygos Painter was an
ancient Greek Attic red-figure vase painter of the Late Archaic
period. Together with Onesimos (vase painter), Douris and Makron, he
is among the most important bowl painters of his time. He was active
in the first third of the fifth century BCE, especially in the 480s
and 470s. He was a prolific artist to whom over two hundred vases
have been attributed, but he is perhaps best known for the Brygos
Cup, a red-figure kylix in the Louvre which depicts the "iliupersis"
or sack of Troy.
The Brygos Painter's conventional
name is derived from the potter Brygos who is known from signatures.
The Brygos Painter appears to have painted the majority of bowls
produced by Brygos. The name Brygos appears on several vases and
cups of the late 6th century BCE and early 5th century BCE. It is
not known whether the signature refers to the potter or painter or
indeed whether the two roles were separate; by convention they are
referred to as two distinct individuals.
He was one of the most productive
painters of his generation; more than 200 vases have been attributed
to him. Apart from bowls, he also paonted other vase shapes, such as
skyphoi, kantharoi, rhyta, a kalathos-like vessel with a pouring
spout and a number of lekythoi. By far the majority of his works
were bowls of the types B and C. The latter were often executed
without maeander base lines, the former frequently stood on conical
bases. The maeanders around his tondo paintings are rarely
continuous, most are interrupted by sets or rows of crosses. Apart
from his red-figure work, the Brygos Painter is known to have
produced some white-ground vases.
Stylistically, the Brygos Painter
is in a tradition with the early works by Onesimos. The influence of
Onesimos is apparent in the Brygos Painter's use of twisting limbs
and dramatic foreshortening, it is a possibility that Brygos was a
pupil of Onesimos. Especially at the beginning of his career, he is
bold and inventive. His drawing is not almost of the utmost
precisions, but the postures of his figures and the expressiveness
of their faces are outstanding. He is considered as the Archaic
painter who had achieved the highest mastery of depicting body
postures. He also is one of the first, and very few, painters who
managed to paint a child to truly look like a child, and not like a
small adult. Much of this suggests that he based his work on acute
observation. Many of his figures also clearly display the effects of
age. Typical motifs are symposium and palaistra scenes. Flat skulls,
long noses and narrow eyes with rather high eyebrows ate
characteristics of his style. His skill in painting the human mouth
is remarkable: he can depict them as whistling, singing, playing the
flute or clenching their lips with a high degree of anatomic
accuracy. Stubbly beards or stubbly hair (on old men), as well as
first signs of balding are also typical.
His mythical scenes are frequently
original. Thus, he depicts the body of Ajax being covered by
Tekmessa, the handing-over of the body of Hector and other scenes
from the Trojan War. Dionysiac scenes are common as well. A famous
bowl depicts satyrs attacking the goddesses Iris and Hera. While
Iris attempts to flee, hera is protected by Heracles and Hermes.
Dionysos is present, but apparently uninvolved. As on many of the
Brygos Painter's vases, the figures are named by inscription; at
times he even describes what they say or call. In spite of his
frequent use of writing, kalos inscriptions by the Brygos Painter
The Brygos Painter was associated
with a broader circle of artists who were influenced by him or even
worked with him at the workshop of the potter Brygos. These include
the Foundry Painter, the Briseis Painter, the Dokimasia Painter, the
Painter of Louvre G 265 and the Painter of the Paris Gigantomachy.
From Wikipedia, the