Onesimos (vase painter)

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Kylix made by Euphronios, ca. 500-490 B.C. (Paris, Louvre, G 105).

Onesimos was an ancient Athenian vase painter who flourished between 505 and 480 BC. He specialized in decorating cups, mostly of Type B, which comprise virtually all known examples of his work.

Like many of his fellow red-figure painters, Onesimos emphasized realistically rendered, active figures, and depicted tableaux drawn from daily life as well as scenes from mythology. A number of the pieces painted by Onesimos bear the signature of Euphronios as potter. In light of this evidence of the two artists' close collaboration, as well as similarities in their painting styles, many researchers believe that Onesimos learned his trade as Euphronios's pupil. Similarly, the works of the later Antiphon Painter bear a close stylistic resemblance to those of Onesimos, suggesting that Onesimos may have served as a teacher in his own right.[1]


  1. ^ The Getty Museum - Biography of Onesimos "Onesimos" means "profitable" in Greek and may have been a nickname. Onesimos worked in Athens in the early 400s B.C. decorating vases. He painted vases primarily in the red-figure technique, but he also decorated some white-ground vases. Although many vase-painters tended to specialize in certain types of vases, Onesimos was unusual in the degree to which he decorated cups almost exclusively. He frequently decorated vases potted by Euphronios and seems to have learned many elements of his painting style from this artist. Continuing the work of his master and the other Pioneers, Onesimos favored active poses and realistic renderings of the human body, including elements such as body hair and receding hairlines. His mythological depictions were innovative: many myths appear for the first time in his work. In his later work Onesimos emphasized scenes of everyday life, especially symposia and athletes.