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THE EXHIBIT

Arkades. 700- 600 BC

This richly painted oenochoe, a wine jug, is dated to the 7th century BC and is one of the most important examples of Archaic Cretan pottery. The pictorial scenes on the vessel are especially interesting. The main scene, on the tall cylindrical neck, depicts two lovers in intimate conversation. They may be Theseus and Ariadne, important figures of Cretan mythology. The man is gently touching the woman’s chin, extending his right hand towards her lower body. She is holding his wrists in a harmonious mirroring of his gesture. Her dress is painted white, contrasting with his black garment. The female figure is standing stiffly compared to the striding male figure moving towards her. The outlines of the figures are rendered with incisions and black paint applied to the light-coloured clay. On the shoulder of the jug are two lions hunting deer and wild goats. The animals are depicted in outline, with black dots and traces of white slip on the body. This jug is one of the most expressive creations of the Arkades pottery workshop. It stands out both for its choice of mythological subject and for its artistic style, which is found in Archaic Cretan metalwork and ceramics during what is known as the Orientalising period.
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