Fine Greek Painted Olpe


A light brown Gnathia-ware vessel, most likely an olpe or oinochoe. It has been glossed in black, and painted with details in dark red and white. A pyriform shape body (resting on a foot) tapers into a short, wide neck and everted rim. One small, oval handle reaches from the middle of the neck to the top of the belly. Black gloss covers the flask down to the foot, which is decorated with red paint and a natural clay colour. The belly of the vessel is vertically-ribbed, and the neck is painted with a brilliant red band and series of white-yellowish dots.


Date: 4th - 3rd Century BC
Condition: Very fine condition; intact with some grazing to the surface.


The vases attributed to the “Gnathia style” are so termed after the site of Gnathia (present-day Egnazia), which is located on the Adriatic coast of Apulia. The decorative technique used for these vases consisted of the application of colours on a coat of black varnish. Scholars believe that its production most likely was centred around Taras, with primary workshops in Egnathia and Canosa. The quantity and quality of Greek colonial Apulian potters increased significantly following the Peloponnesian War, when Attic exports were drastically reduced. Apulian artistry displays the influences of Ionian (Athenian, Attic) conventions, as well as of Doric (western colonial Greek) styles, whilst maintaining a native Italian aesthetic.

Southern Italy was populated by a large number of Greek colonies from the 8th century BC onwards – so much so that the Romans referred to the area as Magna Graecia – ‘Great Greece’. These Greek colonies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture and thought to Italy, greatly influencing Roman literature, philosophy, and material culture in turn.

To find out more about different types of Greek vessel please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Greek Vases.

Weight 150 g
Dimensions H 11.3 cm



Pottery and Porcelain