From the eighth through the sixth century B.C., the city of Corinth was one of the chief centers of Greek pottery manufacture. Its painted wares were exported widely throughout the Mediterranean. The black-figure technique that decorates this plate originated in Corinth.
The Art Museum’s plate was executed by one of the great masters of Corinthian vase painting, the Chimera Painter, who is named after the mythological creature (part lion, part goat, and part serpent) depicted on another of his attributed works. A draftsman in the black-figure technique, the Chimera Painter is known for his monumental compositions, and the Art Museum's plate, with its splendid crouching lioness, is no exception.
The feline subject reflects the strong influence of Near Eastern art, which permeated the Greek Corinthian tradition in the seventh century B.C. The rendering of the animal’s face reveals the contemporary influence of Assyrian art, probably transmitted through imported decorated textiles. In typical Corinthian fashion, a purplish-red glaze is used to highlight features of the face, mane, and body, while delicate incision defines and clarifies the decorative detail.