The most important workshop of ceramics during the 7th century B.C. was that of Corinth, both from the point of innovation and inventiveness that was apparent, and from the point of the spread of its vases, and consequently of its influence over other centres. In Corinth the transition from Geometric standards to the orientalizing took place quite early, obviously because the city had developed commercial activities and a great familiarization with oriental miniature art. The prevalence of the physiocratic tendencies found fertile ground in the cultured sense of miniature-art accuracy of the Corinthian potters. The technique that allowed the decoration of miniature-vases -such as the spherical aryballoi and the kotylai- was an invention of the Corinthian potters and was called black-figure technique. In that the figure was drawn as a silhouette, but before the firing of the vase the details were incised by a sharp tool removing a thin layer of glaze at the same time. Production in the Corinthian Quarter is divided into two large periods with many subcategories. Each period continued for about a century: the protocorinthian from 720 to 625 B.C. and the Corinthian from 625 to 535 B.C.


Early protocorinthian or the period of the spherical aryballoi, 720-690 B.C. Aryballoi and kotylai are decorated with animals and flowers -real or imaginary- often enlivened with added colours.
Middle protocorinthian I or period of ovoid aryballoi I, or period of the Ist black-figure style, 690-670 B.C. Along with the new type of aryballoi a radical turn in the thematology also appears. The floral animal motifs withdrew to secondary zones, yielding the main surface of the vase to narrative scenes.
Middle protocorinthian II or period of the ovoid aryballoi, or period of the II black-figure style, 670-650 B.C. This period represents the apex of protocorinthian pottery. The proportion of the figures acquired a naturalness, the forms that overlapped were accurately attributed with a sense of respective and miniature art skill acquired a scholastic accuracy. A beautiful example of these achievements is the MacMillan aryballos.
Late protocorinthian or period of pear-shaped (pyriform) aryballoi, 650-625 B.C. In its last phase the protocorinthian black-figured style was experimented on quite a lot with the added colours, thus creating a particular polychromy. Exquisite vases belong to that period, such as the olpe Chigi. These have the tendency to represent the forms naturalistically, whereas the decorative motifs are almost completely missing.


Transitional, 625-610 B.C. During this period many elements of the previous one continued, however with signs of a certain schematisation and inanimate repetition becoming apparent.
Early Corinthian, 610-580 B.C. At the same time as the well-known animal friezes, which in this phase are covered with various secondary motifs, mostly rosettes, the large vases -such as the column crater- continued to be decorated with narrative scenes, usually simplified and less detailed.
Middle Corinthian, 580-555 B.C. During this phase the animal bodies were elongated, to cover the friezes more easily, whereas even the rosettes were gradually transformed into simple dots.
Late Corinthian, 555-535 B.C. The Corinthian potters, in order to compete with the Athenians, imitated the shape of the type A amphora and the panel decoration. Some painters produced some interesting representations with the use of added white and red colour. These were the last works that were of considerable note. Whatever followed after 535 B.C., were of little importance -usually small size- works for mainly local consumption.

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