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The female solo movement in red-figure vase painting

Motevasselani Choubineh, N. (2019) The female solo movement in red-figure vase painting. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00089370


The present thesis investigates around a debatable but hitherto understudied kinetic motif, which surprisingly was frequent all along the history of the red-figure vase-painting between the late sixth and the late fourth centuries BC. Termed here as the Female Solo Movement (FSM), this motif was conventionally used by the red-figure artists to illustrate a dance movement often performed by female characters. Many FSM performers are portrayed individually, carrying one or more objects attributive of Dionysiac myths and cult. Nevertheless, their pictures have not yet seen a proper attention and analysis and are largely absent from the gigantic body of the Dionysian scholarship, nor are they substantially present in the iconographical studies on the ancient Greek dance. My study, firstly, argues that the main reason for the pervasive marginalisation of FSM pictures in dance iconography and in Dionysiac studies is that the FSM as a kinetographic pattern, i.e. a kinetic motif becoming a conventional iconographic pattern through repeating, is synchronically used in a group of non-performative red-figure paintings traditionally understood as the scenes of pursuit. The pursuit scenes flourished in the late Archaic Athenian art and became increasingly popular apparently because of their social, ethical, and political implications in the fifth century. Scholarly interest in pursuit scenes has been instrumental in the generalisation of the reading of the FSM, so that all FSM performers are understood as non-performative characters engaged in situations of panic and escape. The study then proceeds with an attempt to construct an objective method for the identification and analysis of the FSM as a dance movement, which is still lacking in the iconography proper. The methodological framework I propose here is kinetography, a comprehensive model for distinguishing and reading the ancient dance movements in the Greek vase-painting, with potentials to be used to study other sorts of kinetic motifs materialised in both painted and sculpted objects.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Smith, A.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Humanities
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Classics
ID Code:89370
Date on Title Page:2018

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