An Unwelcome Aspect of Life: the depiction of Old Age in Greek Vase Painting.
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The subject of old age is rarely addressed in Greek vase painting and usually appears in scenes from mythology or daily life. Older men in these representations are Homeric heroes, esteemed as kings, leaders and sages who have rendered great services to society; older people are also present in scenes of everyday life – usually as fathers or child supervisors. depending on the technique of decoration, these figures were characterised mostly through hair colour (as well as thinning hair and baldness in the case of men), a stooped and frail frame or an obese one. Besides, on red-figure and white-ground vessels it was possible to render facial wrinkles. These features apply predominantly to the images of men, because due to the social ideal of kalokagathia Athenian women were usually depicted as timelessly young. The article contains an analysis of selected depictions of the elderly in vase painting in terms of their iconography and the types of scenes in which they appear, including references to the written sources.
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