Oltos was an important vase painter specializing in the decoration of bilingual and red-figure cups. He painted both the black-figure and the red-figure decoration of his bilinguals. Like most of his late bilingual eye-cups, this black-figure tondo bears the inscription, "Memnon is beautiful."
The figure painted in the tondo has no distinguishing attributes to aid identification. He is nude, except for a mantle thrown over his left shoulder and right arm. Touches of added red, an old-fashioned motif used in black-figure and characteristic of Oltos, embellish alternate folds of the mantle, as well as sections of the man's hair and beard. Like the figure in the tondo, the red-figured youth on the exterior of the cup is anonymous, in his case entirely nude except for a purplish added-red wreath around his head.
Bilingual vases were developed as a style of vase decoration in Athens around 525 B.C. They combine the two traditional Athenian vase-decoration techniques: the older technique of black-figure, and red-figure, the technique that would gain popularity and continue to be used through the fourth century B.C. On a black-figure vase, silhouettes in black gloss are contrasted against the red-orange clay of the vessel. On a red-figure vase, the forms come from the red-orange color of the clay, and the space around them is filled in with black gloss. Like most bilingual cups, this is an eye-cup, with large eyes painted on the red-figured exterior and a single black figure on the tondo of the interior. Red-figured palmettes appear at the handles, and a single red figure occupies the space between the large eyes on one side.