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Painting and Firing a Black Figure Vase

What's happening?

Slide 1 :

After an initial drawing (probably with charcoal) the artist has filled in the complete figure using the refined clay as paint. When fired this will of course turn black.

Slide 2 :

The next stage is to add extra colours - these are painted over the refined clay "paint". Here the artist has used white clay for parts of the clothing and a reddish purple for the beard and hair. These colours will be unchanged after firing. The white has sometimes completely or partially worn off on surviving pots.

Slide 3 :

Now the fine detail is added by incision - scratching through to the underlying colour of the vase with a sharp tool. The artist will also incise round the complete outline to give a sharp edge to his figure.

Slide 4 :

The pot after firing: it will now be burnished (polished up) and is ready for sale or use.

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