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Abstract – A Pseudo-Panathenaic Amphora by the Nikoxenos Painter

The purpose of the research is to identify and explain all aspects of the design and iconography of the name vase of the Nikoxenos Painter, a red figure pseudo-Panathenaic amphora discovered in Capua. The Nikoxenos Painter was active between c. 525-475 B.C.E., the period during which the shift from black figure to red figure vase painting occurred. He painted in both styles, and decorated a large number of pseudo-Panathenaic amphorae with unusual scenes that deviate significantly from standard Panathenaic iconography.

These deviations include such elements of iconography as a non-Panathenaic style Athena sacrificing before an altar without her aegis; the inclusion of cock columns on both sides of the vase, with roosters on only one side and another type of bird the other side; and use of a chiton and himation as Athena’s ensemble, rather than a peplos. These non-standard elements of iconography combine with red figure style to create a distinctly different impression from that on an official prize amphora.

Several explanations will be considered for the iconography of the vase: the way the tastes of the Italian market determined the repertoire of scenes depicted on vases made for exportation, the use of the Panathenaic amphora’s shape as a way of creating appealing souvenirs for visitors to the Games, and the purpose of the Panathenaic Games themselves as a means by which the iconography may be decoded.

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