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Greek Vases
The Athenians and Their Images

by Francois Lissarrague

ISBN: 1-878351-57-5
Price: $75.00

240 pages, hardcover
with linen binding and french-fold dust-jacket, 10-1/4 x 13"
147 color illustrations, 33 line drawings

Cover: Herakles and Dionysos, Attic red-figure psykter, Kleophrades painter, 500 BC, height 0.33m, Compiegne, Musee Vivenel

Greek vases display a great quantity and a wide variety of images, in particular those vases from Athens in the 5th and 6th centuries BC. With a large number of color illustrations, including many full-page details, this book seeks to explain those images, and to help the viewer of the vases understand both the context in which they were used and the significance of the figures which appear on them.

All the different aspects of Athenian culture and society are considered, with an emphasis on their visual treatment. The vase painters did not attempt to reproduce reality; they staged it, through a series of choices each of which had its own social and aesthetic logic. Each image summoned up another, and was clarified by it. This network of imagery is examined and explained in the book's major themes: the banquet, sex, athletics and competitions, war, domestic life, relationships between men and the gods, Herakles as an exemplar of the Greek hero, the mythic identity of Athens, and the special place of Dionysos. .

The visual story presented here is both informative and entertaining. All those interested in Greek culture and art will find it compelling, as will those interested in the formal study of images and image-making. .

Included in the appendices are essays on the rediscovery of Greek vases in the modern era and on artists and attributions, as well as a table of vase shapes, an informative glossary, and a comprehensive bibliography. .

About the author:

After extended research at CNRS in the Louis Gernet Center founded by Jean-Pierre Vernant, Francois Lissarrague has since 1996 been the director of studies (Anthropology and Image: the Greek Experience) at l'Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales. A specialist in Attic imagery, he has participated in many collective works, among which are:City of Images, 1984; Gods and Heroes of Classical Antiquity, with Irene Aghion and Claire Barbillon, 1992; and Les Mysteres du gynecee, with Francoise Frontisi and Paul Veyne, 1997. Since 1996 he has been co-director with Jean-Claude Schmitt of the Gallimard collection "Les Temps des images." He is also the author of The Aesthetics of the Greek Banquet, 1987 and L'Autre guerrier; archers, peltastes, cavaliers dans l'imagerie attique, 1990.


Back cover: Herakles, Attic red-figure kantharos,
Syriskos painter, 490 BC, height 0.21m,
Paris, Cabinet des Medailles, Bibliotheque Nationale.

At the Banquet
Under the Gaze of Eros
Athletes, Games, Competitions
Warriors and Heroes
Men and Gods
A Hero for All Dangers
Mythic Identity of the Athenians
Dionysos and His Followers



The Rediscovery of Greek Vases: Collectors and Museums
Artisans and Artists:
    Signatures and Attributions
Table of Shapes
Table of Illustrations
References and Bibliographical Sources
Index of Collections

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