Red figured war was produced and replaced the earlier black figured ware in about 530 B.C. and was produced until about the 3rd century B.C.
It is essentially the opposite of the black figured ware.
The applied slip decoration is bone in the negative, leaving the red behind to serve as the image, in the black figured ware the black was applied as the drawing and the red was left as the background color. The advantage of this was that it allowed the painter to work the small details with his brush. In black figure ware they had to be left behind like the whites in a watercolor or scraped into the black with a point.
The painting and the aesthetics has developed steadily and during this period it is at its height. Athens was the leading producer of these potteries which were sold through out the Mediterranean world. They were enormously popular and produced in a wide range of qualities. The poor used undecorated crude pottery. The finest sorts were very expensive.
In the 18th and early 19th century these vases were affordable, they existed in huge quantities and they were a common bring-home souvenir for elegant tourists to the Greece and Italy. Many of the collections about the world got their start upon the collections of a private party.
The drawing and elegant design of the vases is of the highest caliber and they are works of art that equal the art upstairs in the more crowded picture galleries. When the galleries of paintings are too full, I go downstairs and enjoy the fine painting on the Greek vases.
To those of you who have weathered my posts on classical pottery, thank you for your stamina. My sites stats have dropped like a stone since I started posting on this. I suppose most painters would wonder why they should know about this stuff. I think that the aesthetic sense is trainable and that is done by being acquainted with the art of your culture.
I have a post to do tomorrow on color temperature and then a couple of responses to reader queries. Then who knows what. But be forewarned, I intend to do the orders of furniture and English 19th century transfer printed pottery before I am done. Gonna have to cover some architecture, and define chriselephantine for you too. See you all tomorrow when I return to the art of making paintings.