Fool's Gold and Silver: Reflections on the Evidentiary Status of Finely Painted Attic Pottery

Pritchard, David M. (1999) Fool's Gold and Silver: Reflections on the Evidentiary Status of Finely Painted Attic Pottery. Antichthon, 33 1-27. doi:10.1017/S0066477400002318

Author Pritchard, David M.
Title Fool's Gold and Silver: Reflections on the Evidentiary Status of Finely Painted Attic Pottery
Journal name Antichthon   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0066-4774
Publication date 1999-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0066477400002318
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 33
Start page 1
End page 27
Total pages 27
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Abstract The imagery of black and red figure pottery continues to be a valuable source of information for the social and ideological history of ancient Athens. These images have traditionally provided historians with insights into material culture, religion and daily life activities, and increasingly, in large part due to francophone archaeologists like François Lissarrague, they are also being employed as detailed evidence of the conceptual world of archaic and classical Athenians. It is striking though that in spite of the clear evidentiary value of finely painted Attic pottery, almost no sustained scholarly attention has been paid to the critical issue of whose lifestyle and ideological point of view were replicated in images by Athenian pottery painters. In light of this lacuna the recent research project of David Gill and Michael Vickers to isolate more exactly the status of red and black figure pots in Attic society would appear to be most promising. Their findings end up challenging two widely held but never fully substantiated articles of faith of classical archaeology, namely that this type of pottery was used extensively and valued highly by the Athenian elite, and that these ‘vases’ were an important and privileged medium for the development of Greek art. Gill and Vickers seek to demonstrate that the homes of upper class Athenians were crammed full of precious metal vessels and had no place for mere painted pots. They maintain instead that such fictile pieces were inexpensive, and slavishly imitated the shapes, colours and even imagery of the vastly more valuable vessels made of gold and silver. Consequently, Gill and Vickers argue that Attic finely painted pottery was entirely dependent on the artistry and inventiveness of the designers and smiths of precious metallic pieces.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Thu, 06 Apr 2017, 17:55:27 EST by Dr David Pritchard on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry