Height: 34.000 cm
Excavated by Sir Auguste Salzmann
Room 13: Greece 1050-520 BC
Fikellura style amphora with a running man
Greek, 6th century BC
Made in Miletos, Asia Minor (modern Turkey); from Kamiros, Rhodes, Aegean Sea
An energetic design
This amphora is decorated in the 'Fikellura' style. The style is so-called after a cemetery on the island of Rhodes, where large numbers of vases in this distinctive style have been found. Until recently it was assumed that they had been made on Rhodes, but analysis of samples of clay has shown that many of them were made at Miletos in Caria on the west coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The style is related to the 'Wild Goat' style but displays new patterns such as a row of crescents or elaborate guilloche designs like that on the neck of this pot. The amphora is the most common shape, either broad like this one or else narrow and elongated. The Fikellura style is one of the most easily recognisable of Greek pottery styles and may have been the inspiration of a single potter or painter.
Here, a runner is painted in silhouette, with the few inner markings reserved in the natural colour of the clay. His pose, with arms and legs fully extended and chest thrust out, suggests that he is running at full speed. Most sixth-century vase painters would have surrounded this isolated figure with ornamental friezes or panels, but this artist wisely resisted the temptation.
J. Swaddling, The ancient Olympic Games, 3rd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 2004)
J. Boardman, Early Greek vase painting: 11t (London, Thames and Hudson, 1998)