The Cross-Purpose Greek Pot

The Louvre Greek and Roman Antiquities, from

The Louvre Greek and Roman Antiquities, from

Ok, enough horsing around here, we’re going to cut strait to the chase and give you a sample, a teaser, a piece of the hunt! Which THATLou, you ask? Well, the below morsel is particularly great because it could fit into any number of near-future hunts.

Meet the Cross-Purpose Greek Pot, The Dinos by the Gorgon Painter…

There’s the Food + Wine hunt that we’re getting revved for. On the evening of Wednesday 8 August Alisa Morov (Sweet Pea Baking), Jenny Greco (ChezLoulou) and Jenny Beaumont are co-hosting a Foodies in France THATlou that is shaping up nicely. Where would you find a Dinos other than at a FEAST that the Greeks lingered over for ages (on this note there may just be another hint for the Foodies in France hunters in the very word feast).

As for the réntrée, there are two THATLous that this Dinos would be perfect for — as the previous Gorgon post discussed, the very word the Greeks gave these ghoulish creatures means Horrible or Terrible. Terribly appropriate for the Best of Bestiary THATLou on Sunday 2 September, meeting at 2.30 pm. Bestiary has been touched on here and there in past blog posts with Darius the Great’s wonderful Frieze of Griffins, and those gentle protecting Lamassus.

Then there’s the Liquid Louvre THATLou that I’m all excited about for 52 Martinis members. That’s on the evening of Wednesday 5 September (the invitation of which is on Forest Collins’s meet up group here). Of course a Dinos fits in there perfectly, to ground the floating debauched bacchuses from flying about.

Anyway, enough chatter from me. Here’s your hint, take it and run for the THATLou prize!


Cerveteri (from Athens, Greece), Circa 580 BC

Clay, H 93cm

A Dinos was used to mix water and wine – and stood on a tall stand so the servants didn’t have to stoop during the long banquets that Dinoses were made for (The Greeks drank a lot of wine, but always diluted). This early Attic Dinos is of particular importance because it gave the Gorgon Painter his name – referring to the scene on one side of the pot with Perseus being chased by the Goggle-Eyed Gorgons, after he murdered their sister Medusa, shown collapsing after Perseus lopped off her head: Death taking hold of her before our very eyes. The Gorgon Painter is one of the earliest masters of the Black Figure technique and a pioneer of the Attic tradition of figurative decoration on pottery. There is a convergence of influences on this Dinos – among the series of bands of friezes with alternating plant motifs and animals, including bestiary such as sphinxes and mermaids there are also male figures, a reference to the Oriental tradition of the Master of Animals.


Sully, 1st Fl, Salle des Sept Cheminees, Room 74

Attic Black-Figured Dinos, by the Gorgon Painter,
Attic Black-Figured Dinos, by the Gorgon Painter,

This is the only vase by the Gorgon Painter – who was prolific – to depict a complex narrative, but also the first Attic vase to do so at all… Don’t nod off — this is interesting enough stuff folks, to merit some bonus points!

For a background on Athenian red and black-figure vase painting the Met has a summary here and the British Museum has a page here (on how they were made). As for their shapes, Wikipedia has a wonderful collection of photographs with their names – which if you click on the names will of course lead you to their purpose. Click here for that visit.


2 thoughts on “The Cross-Purpose Greek Pot

  1. Pingback: Gourmanding Giants | THATLou

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s