The Chigi Group: A New Interpretation of Protocorinthian Vase Painting from the Perspective of the Phoenician Metal Bowl Tradition




Brennan, Joseph

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Attention to Phoenician art and particularly the Phoenician metal-bowl tradition, reveals an alternative reading of the imagery present on the Chigi Group’s vessels. The iconography of the Macmillan Aryballos and Chigi Olpe shows that the Phoenician metal bowls profoundly influenced the imagery and themes incorporated into the Protocorinthian vessels produced by the Chigi Group. The similarities between the Macmillan Aryballos, Chigi Olpe, and Phoenician metal bowls demonstrate that the artisans of the Chigi Group attempted to create Orientalizing motifs, rather than the narrative scenes common in later Greek art. The combination of Phoenician themes, Greek stylistic details, and a mythological vocabulary suggests a goal of adaptation and synthesis, rather than direct imitation of Phoenician bowls. In addition, the artistic fusion apparent on the Protocorinthian vessels mirrors both the eclecticism of the Orientalizing era and that which defines Phoenician art. The examination of a fragmentary oinochoe and two more aryballoi suggests that the Chigi Group adapted the format of Phoenician bowls to compensate for the transition from metal bowls to small pottery vessels. Iconographic and stylistic similarities with Phoenician bowls found in Etruria and Cyprus suggest strong ties to workshops located in these regions.



Art history.