Type of Greek pottery that flourished from the late 6th to the late 4th century BC. Developed in Athens c. 530 BC, the red-figure pottery quickly overtook the older black-figure pottery as the preferred style of vase painting. In red-figure technique, the background was painted black, and the outline details on the figures were also painted (rather than incised) in black, but the rest of each figure was unpainted and so retained the orange-red colour of the natural vase. By comparison with incising, the painting of the details allowed more flexibility in rendering human form, movements, expressions, and perspective. Since most of the ornamentation was narrative, such technical advantages were of utmost importance.
Athenian red-figure cup, detail of a bearded reveler by the Brygos Painter, c. 490 BC; in
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