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Title: Oltos  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Euphronios, Kachrylion, Eurystheus, Epiktetos, Class of Cabinet des Médailles 218
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Residence Athens
Occupation Vase painter
Years active c.525 BC to c. 500 BC
Style Initially bilingual, later red-figure
Athena and Enkelados in combat, red-figure plate, Louvre CA 3662.

Oltos was a Late Archaic Greek vase painter, active in Athens. From the time between 525 BC and 500 BC, about 150 works by him are known. Two pieces, a cup in Berlin (Antikensammlung F 2264) and a cup in Tarquinia (Museo Nazionale Tarquiniese RC 6848), are signed by him as painter.

Oltos is thought to have begun his career in the workshop of the potter Nikosthenes. Initially, he mainly painted bilingual vases or bowls with interior black-figure and exterior red-figure decoration. His black-figure style was influenced by Psiax and the Antimenes Painter. No pure black-figure works by Oltos are yet known. His tondos usually depict a single figure. They are often full of tension, frequently with differential directions of gaze and movement. Later, he exclusively painted red-figure, influenced especially by the Andokides Painter as well as several members of the Pioneer Group, especially his former pupil Euphronios.

His drawing style was spacious and elegant, but never reached the depth of detail of his most important contemporary masters. He had a distinctive tendency towards luxurious ornamentation and symmetric compositions. In the middle of his career he concentrated especially on the depiction of mythological scenes. Over time, he worked with several different potters. We know of at least six: Hischylos, most importantly Pamphaios, with whom he created the earliest known stamnos, Tleson, Chelis, and finally Kachrylion, for whom he worked together with Euphronios, as well as Euxitheos.

An innovation introduced by Oltos is found on an amphora at London (British Museum E 259). Here, he depicts a single figure, with no frame or floor line.

Selected works

Dionysos, interior image from a bilingual cup (A), Munich, Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Inv. 2593).
Eurystheus hiding in a jar as Herakles brings him the Erymanthian boar. Side A from a red-figure kylix by Oltos, ca. 510 BC, Paris, Louvre (G17).


  • Joachim Harnecker: Oltos. Untersuchungen zu Themenwahl und Stil eines früh-rotfigurigen Schalenmalers, Lang, Frankfurt a. M. u. a. 1992, ISBN 3-631-43755-2

External links

  • MFA Boston Kylix Fragments
  • NY Met Psykter
  • Louvre amphora
  • Tarquinia, Museo Nazionale Tarquiniese RC6848
  • Louvre G-3
  • Perseus site images
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