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Targeted Advertising for Women in Athenian Vase-Painting of the Fifth Century BCE

Department of Classics and Humanities, College of Arts and Letters, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-6020, USA
Received: 8 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1))
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This paper analyzes the trends in depictions of women in Athenian vase-painting during the 5th century BCE through an examination of approximately 88,000 vases in the Beazley Archive Pottery Database. It found a 15% increase in depictions of women during the 5th century BCE and a diversification in subject matter in which women appear. By considering these trends within the historical context of the hegemonic position of Athens in the Delian League and its wars, this paper proposes that the changes in representations and subject matter denote an expanded marketability of vases to female viewers. As targeted imagery, the images give perceptible recognition to an increased valuation of women’s work and lives at a time when their roles in Athenian society were essential for the continued success of the city-state. This paper suggests that these changes also point to the fact that a greater share of the market was influenced by women, either directly or indirectly, and successful artists carefully crafted targeted advertisements on their wares to attract that group. This paper provides new insights into the relationships between vases and their intended audiences within the context of the cultural changes occurring in Athens itself. View Full-Text
Keywords: ceramics; women; Athens; advertising; vase-painting; 5th century BCE ceramics; women; Athens; advertising; vase-painting; 5th century BCE

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Bennett, D.S. Targeted Advertising for Women in Athenian Vase-Painting of the Fifth Century BCE. Arts 2019, 8, 52.

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