Black figure period
From 600 BC on, the athenian black-figure pottery surpasses the corinthian one and dominates the mediterranean markets. Many black figure vases were found inside etruscan tombs, after various necropolises of that civilization were discovered in the 18th century. Their subsequent grouping during the second half of that century, brought the greek pottery into prominence.
The first pottery painter who signed his work, was Sophilos. His best preserved work, is a black-figured bowl (dinos) and stand, depicting the wedding ceremony of Peleus at his house. Sophilos signed the vase between the columns of the house. The uppermost zone, shows wedding guests processing to the house, whereas on the lower zone we see animals and mythical creatures.
A unique in quality representation of Dionysos on a kylix can be found in Exekias’ work, a very gifted pottery painter, who is credited as the inventor of the calyx krater and who produced fine artifacts, meticulously rich in details. Another one of his innovations, was the illustration of the background with red color, in order to achieve depth (intentional red). The François Vase, a large volute krater in the black-figure style, with numerous painted subjects, 260 human and animal figures as well as several objects, all labelled with inscriptions, is considered a milestone in the pre-Exekias evolution of black-figure pottery.