Unknown Greek, ‘Red-Figure Lekanis with Bird & Lizard’, ca. 350 BCE, ArtAncient
Unknown Greek, ‘Red-Figure Lekanis with Bird & Lizard’, ca. 350 BCE, ArtAncient

An ancient Greek Red-Figure Pottery Lekanis, produced in Southern Italy during the 4th Century BC.

The vase painters of Greek South Italy were ultimately inspired by Athenian red-figure artists, although they soon developed their own imaginative depictions, shapes and techniques. The humorous scene on this otherwise fairly typical cosmetics box, or lekanis, speaks of a freedom of expression seldom found on Greek vases.

A bird, perhaps a thrush, is shown pecking at a small gecko as he tries to scurry away. As the design is not a standard type, we are left with the lovely notion that the ancient painter was simply copying a scene from the Italian countryside that caught his imagination.

Image rights: ArtAncient

Ex. Gilpin Smith family collection. From an estate formed in northern England in the 1970s.

ArtAncient, 2014. Glimpses. Object 5.

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