In this five-minute animated video, journey back to the 6th-century BCE workshop of the Athenian master Andokides and witness an ancient artist’s moment of creative ingenuity. For generations Athenian vase painters had employed black-figure technique, in which the figure is painted in a mixture of clay and water called slip and details are incised with a sharp tool.
At some point—we don’t know precisely when or why—a vase painter had the idea to reverse the scheme, leaving the figures the color of the clay and painting details with a brush. We now call this red-figure technique. Learn how ancient vase painters created vases in both styles and marvel at the technical virtuosity of the multi-step firing process that contributed to their distinctive, high-contrast look.