nat4b
nat4b
29 December 2023, 21:40

Hnafia: aesthetics of ancient Greek ceramic art

Hnafia: aesthetics of ancient Greek ceramic art
Ancient Greek art of the ancient era left the world with many wonderful works, including ceramics, which have become an integral part of cultural heritage. Among them are gnafia, antique vases that were created in the IV-III centuries BC in the Greater Greece region, more precisely, in the seaside city of Gnafia, located in eastern Apulia (now Egnatia).

The name "gnafia" comes from the city of the same name, where archaeologists first discovered these amazing ceramic products in the middle of the 19th century. However, it is worth noting that they were created in the spaces of the entire "Hellenistic East".

This production "told" about an interesting stage in the development of Greek ceramics: the period characterized by the transition from classical red-figure vase painting to the colorful polychrome technique that was characteristic of the Hellenistic period.
Photo source: Louvre Museum
Photo source: Louvre Museum
This name was also used to refer to the eponymous style of Greek vase painting. And what was first, the name of the style, or products in this style, is not known for sure.

One of the features of these ceramic creations was a black lacquer background, on which a colorful painting was applied, made using engobes of various colors - white, golden yellow or purple. The black background, according to some researchers, indicated the mourning nature of the products.
Photo source: Louvre Museum
Photo source: Louvre Museum
The main motifs depicted on the gnafis are the ancient Greek god of love, women in everyday life, theater scenes. Usually, such painting was concentrated in the upper parts of the vases. The lower part was decorated with ornaments. This contrast was especially visible through the use of various forms, such as amphorae, kraters, pelicans, skyphos, etc.

At first, different colors were used, but after about 330 BC. white color superseded all others. The plot also changed, masters mostly used plant motifs during painting: grapes, ivy, laurel leaves, etc. Images of people and animals could be found among them.
Photo source: British Museum
Photo source: British Museum
Vase painters Konakis and Rose Vase Painter stand out among the masters who are considered the most famous for creating gnaphi. Their creativity influenced the development of Greek ceramics, which still impresses with its beauty and sophistication.
Photo source: Getty Villa
Photo source: Getty Villa
Photo source: Musée Saint-Raymond
Photo source: Musée Saint-Raymond
Photo source: Art Institute of Chicago
Photo source: Art Institute of Chicago

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