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Courtship Scenes in Attic Vase-Painting

H. A. Shapiro
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 85, No. 2 (Apr., 1981), pp. 133-143
DOI: 10.2307/505033
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/505033
Page Count: 16
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Courtship Scenes in Attic Vase-Painting
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Abstract

Scenes of men courting youths on Attic black- and red-figure vases of ca. 560-475, first collected by Beazley in 1947, are re-examined within their historical and societal context. Their popularity during the Peisistratid period is seen as a reflection of aristocratic taste fostered by the Tyrants, especially Hipparchos. In particular, close ties between Peisistratid Athens and Ionian Greece, exemplified by the presence of the poet Anakreon at the court of Hippias, suggest the creation of a cultural milieu in which the erastes/eromenos relationship and its depictions in art might flourish. The gradual loss of interest in courtship scenes, starting about 510 and most marked after 480, is interpreted as a popular reaction against upper-class mores with Peisistratid associations, first under the new Kleisthenic democracy, and especially during the post-Persian movement toward radical democracy.

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