18th Century Decorative Arts - Great Hall Costume Corridor Level 2, NGV International
Small lekythos/jar with stout body, narrow neck, strap handle and cup-shaped mouth. Decorated in black glaze and a scene in the Gnathia technique of applied colour. On the neck, vertical strokes and on the shoulder a scroll pattern above yellow pendants. The scene is framed between two fruit trees; a woman on the left with a flute, dressed in a long embroidered yellow dress, turns back to a naked Eros on the right holding a box. The wings of Eros are elaborately rendered in red, yellow and white.
A lekythos is a vessel used for storing oil. This example is decorated in the Gnathia technique which involves applying colours – usually red, white, yellow or orange – directly onto the black glaze. The decoration depicts an elegantly robed flute player being gifted a red patterned box by the naked and winged figure of the god of love, Eros. Such images of Eros, along with other youthful winged gods and spirits, are the origins of the later putto figure.