Materials & Techniques

Black-Figure Greek Vase Painting

Black-figure vase painting is a method of decorating clay objects that was developed by the ceramic artisans of the ancient Greek city of Corinth. The decoration appears in black and the background in red. The decoration is painted on and allowed to dry. All linear detail in the decoration is made by cutting through the black areas and allowing the red color of the clay to show through. The painted decoration turns black during the firing of the pottery, leaving the background in the red color of the fired clay. Black-figure was popular in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C.E. and preceded red-figure.

Adapted from

Ken Kelsey, DMA unpublished material, 1995.