Oltos Cup: purchased by the Museum in 1839, this magnificent Attic red-figure kylix is one of the most famous specimens in the Museum's collection of Greek ceramics; not only does it belong to the golden age of the production of these vessels (it can be dated to 520-510 BC), but it has been attributed to one of the key personalities of the first red-figure production, the painter Oltos.
This Attic pottery maker, operating approximately in the last twenty-five years of the sixth century. to. C., is one of the central personalities of the first generation of red-figure painters: the works assigned to him by the most famous scholar of Attic ceramics, JD Beazley, exceed a hundred and others have been added in recent times, even if only two they are the specimens that bear his signature. During his career, he collaborated with various potters and preferred epic themes from the Trojan cycle and Dionysian subjects, brilliantly and accurately painting rapid, vehement and very vital figures.
A dancer is represented at the center of our cup: she wears a chiton with bold transparencies, of which she holds a flap in her right hand, while in her outstretched left hand she holds a twig made in brown paint and almost disappeared; she wears a drop earring and an ornate headband in her hair. The woman represented is probably a hetaera, a highly cultured "courtesan" dedicated to music, dance and poetry, the only female figure allowed in Greek symposiums, for the pleasure of men.