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Corpus vasorum antiquorum. Germany 92. Archäologisches Institut der Universität Göttingen 4: Attisch Rotfigurige Keramik

Corpus vasorum antiquorum. Germany 92. Archäologisches Institut der Universität Göttingen 4: Attisch Rotfigurige Keramik

By Norbert Eschbach (Union Académique Internationale). Pp. 159, figs. 41, color pls. 67, Beilagen 30. C.H. Beck, Munich 2012. €98. ISBN 978-3-406-63595-3 (cloth).

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This conscientious volume publishes more than 150 Attic red-figure vases and fragments in Göttingen, together with a dozen on long-term loan from Berlin. To these is added a black-glazed pyxis (K 629 [pl. 9]). Many are known from the written publications of Paul Hartwig, Paul Jacobsthal, and Sir John Beazley, but a substantial number are illustrated here for the first time. Some of the pieces were acquired in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through dealers such as Barone and Mancini in Italy or Margaritis and Rhousopoulos in Greece, but a majority seems to have come through the agency of Hartwig. Others, however, continued to be intelligently purchased into the second half of the 20th century, among them a crisp, squat lekythos attributed to the Achilles Painter with two women (K 635 [pl. 13]) and a fragmentary column krater by the Göttingen Painter with a komos (K 645 [pls. 18–19]), both from Herbert Cahn.

Most impressive about this volume is the painstaking care with which photographic coverage has been provided. Here no effort has been spared. To supplement the generous and excellent pictures in color that have been taken digitally by Eckardt, archival black-and-white photographs are reproduced to illustrate not only joining fragments in other collections but also sometimes details that are better conveyed in black-and-white than color. For one of the white-ground lekythoi, ultraviolet and roll-out images are also supplied (K 735 [Beilage 30, pl. 67]). These are complemented by 41 careful drawings of inscriptions and graffiti, preliminary sketches, and a workmanlike set of profile drawings.

The text likewise provides much information not available from studying simply the descriptions and images. Thus, for example, the weights and volumes of the complete vases are given. These data will surely contribute to our understanding of the practicalities of their uses in everyday life as well as in commerce. The series of no fewer than nine indices at the end is unusually comprehensive.

This is first and foremost a teaching collection, and there is much for professors and students, young and old alike, to learn. There is something here for almost everyone interested in ancient pottery. Fine drawings by skilled artists are presented, among them an amphora fragment, attributed by Karl Peters (rather optimistically) to the Berlin Painter, with a woman holding a dolphin, perhaps Amphitrite (K 601 [pl. 2.1]); and a stamnos fragment, attributed by Martin Robertson to the Kleophrades Painter, with a youth (K 655 [pl. 25.1]). For cups, there is a series of fragmentary examples, some of them ruined but still lovely, by or near Onesimos and the Antiphon Painter (pls. 36–42), handsome fragments attributed by Paul Jacobsthal and Sir John Beazley to Makron (K 699 and K 700 [pl. 43]), a notable cup attributed by Paul Hartwig to the Penthesilea Painter, with youths and horses (dokimasia?) (K 714 [pls. 50–2]), and a fine Meidian lebes gamikos fragment with a woman (Muse?) playing the lyre (K 661 [pl. 27]). Those interested in shape will be glad to encounter rarities such as two epinetron fragments (K 630 and K 631 [pl. 9]). Among the inscriptions are two important documents, both on loan from Berlin. One, under an owl skyphos, includes the word glaux, or something like it (F 2599 [pl. 31]), presumably the ancient name for the shape. The other, under a small pelike attributed to the Painter of Bonn 2053, gives the price of a batch of 32 (similar vases) at 4 drachmas 2 ½ obols (F 2361 [pls. 5.3, 5.4]). For iconographers, there is much from the world of Dionysos, whether maenads and satyrs or symposium and komos. Genre scenes include a charming palaestra depiction in which a boy leans his elbow on a column and cradles his head in his hand (K 709 [pl. 46]). For those interested in technical aspects, there are useful detailed images documenting ancient repairs, not only the use of rivets but also the roughening of a cup stem for reattachment (K 694 [pl. 38.2]).

Sundry observations may be added:

  1. Plate 2.1 (K 601): To the bibliography on the Berlin Painter, add True and Hamma (A Passion for Antiquities [Malibu 1994] 96–8).
  2. Plate 6.4 (K 609): To the Syriskos Painter’s bibliography, add the important lidded dinos fragments in Princeton (Princeton University Art Museum, inv. no. y1986-34 a, b), whose body is by the Copenhagen Painter (Syriskos) and the lid by the Syriskos Painter (J.M. Padgett, The Centaur’s Smile: The Human Animal in Early Greek Art [New Haven 2003] 170–73).
  3. Plates 6.8, 6.9 (Berlin F 2398 [loan]): For the problematic inscription on the Eretria Painter’s hydria fragment from the Acropolis on loan from Berlin, perhaps it is something cognate with καρπός, and thus a personification of fruitfulness or fertility?
  4. Plates 9.12, 9.13 (K 630 and K 631): On epinetra, see also Kousser (“The World of Aphrodite in the Late Fifth Century B.C.,” in C. Marconi, ed., Greek Vases: Images, Contexts and Controversies [Leiden 2004] 97–112).
  5. Plates 10.3–7 (Berlin F 2227 [loan]): For the small lekythos with Nike and a torch, compare also a squat lekythos, formerly in the collection of Martin Robertson, with Nike with mirror and kalathos (C.M. Robertson, “Victoria Domestica,” in A.J. Clark and J. Gaunt, eds., Essays in Honor of Dietrich von Bothmer [Amsterdam 2002] 283, pl. 73).
  6. Plate 12.1 (K 633): The subject may be a dancing woman, as Eschbach proposes, but standing, I would suggest, in front of an aulos player, on the analogy of the Phiale Painter’s calyx krater in the Vatican (Vatican Museums, Astarita Collection, inv. no. 42; ARV², 1018, no. 68; BAPD, no. 214246; J.H. Oakley, The Phiale Painter [Mainz 1990] pls. 52–4).
  7. Plate 15.1–4 (Berlin F 2510 [loan]): Although poorly drawn, these are hunting dogs (see, e.g., A. Schapp, “Eros en chasse,” in C. Bérard et al., La cité des images [Paris 1984] 67–84; J.K. Anderson, Hunting in the Ancient World [Berkeley 1985]; for dogs more generally, see M.B. Moore, “The Hegesiboulos Cup,” MMAJ 43 [2008] 11–37).
  8. Plate 16.1–3 (K 643): To the bibliography for the Eucharides Painter, add Guy (in N. Leipen, Glimpses of Excellence [Toronto 1984] 15, no. 11 [later sold, Christie’s New York, 12 June 2000, lot 80]; see also BAPD, no. 9590).
  9. Plate 28.104 (K 663): As the author says, the knob from a lekanis lid is very large indeed—a special commission, possibly for a sanctuary?
  10. Plate 32.5 (K 682): The subject, as Eschbach says, is almost certainly Dionysos. Quite likely, he was striding forward while looking back and holding vine and kantharos. The extensive use of dots on the beard, mustache, and forelocks suggests that if the fragment is, as Eschbach suggests, by Oltos, he was thinking of Euphronian work (for which see D. Williams, “Euphronios’ Contemporary Companions and Followers,” in M. Denoyelle, ed., Euphronios peintre [Paris 1992] 79–95, esp. 79–82).
  11. Plates 36.1, 36.2 (K 690): The Proto-Panaetian battle cup fragment is also very close to fragments now in Atlanta (Michael C. Carlos Museum, inv. no. 2006.051.012a–i, ex Centre Island; ARV², 1701, 8 bis; Paralipomena 358), for which Williams found a joining Campana fragment in Florence (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, inv. no. 7.B.56; “The Ilioupersis Cup in Berlin and the Vatican,” JBerlMus 18 [1976] 9–23, esp. 20).
  12. Plate 36.3–7 (K 691): The octopus shield device is Euphronian (cf. Munich 2620; ARV², 16–17, 17; BAPD, no. 200080). To either side of it are not rosettes but sea urchins.
  13. Plates 37.8, 37.9 (K 693): The inscription almost certainly read “Lysis kalos.” The Makron cup, whose podanipter Eschbach compares as being in Charterhouse (ARV², 479, 330), is now in Atlanta (Michael C. Carlos Museum, inv. no. 2003.10.1).
  14. Plates 39–41 (K 695 and K 696): The ancient repairs of these two cups, which both came from Hartwig (respectively in 1897, as Bourgignon, and in 1892, without further provenance) are fashioned using small, clean, drill holes and countersunk channels that are probably by the same hand.
  15. Plate 43.1–4 (K 699): The stripey pattern here on the stool’s cushion is more often encountered on pillows and mattresses.
  16. Plate 48.3–5 (K 712): Does anyone really think that the “goody cross” is a windmill?
  17. Plates 50–2 (K 714): On horses and their care, see also Moore (“Horse Care as Depicted on Greek Vases Before 400 B.C.,” MMAJ 39 [2004] 35–67).
  18. Plate 61.3–9 (K 729): On impressed palmettes, see also Sparkes and Talcott (Black and Plain Pottery of the 6th, 5th and 4th Centuries B.C. Agora 12 [Princeton 1970] 22–30).

These scattered comments, intended to amplify the discussion, in no way detract from the consistently high standards that so many fascicles of the German CVA have maintained, not least the present and welcome volume by Eschbach.

Jasper Gaunt
Michael C. Carlos Museum

Book Review of Corpus vasorum antiquorum. Germany 92. Archäologisches Institut der Universität Göttingen 4: Attisch Rotfigurige Keramik, by Norbert Eschbach

Reviewed by Jasper Gaunt

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 119, No. 4 (October 2015)

Published online at

DOI: 10.3764/ajaonline1194.Gaunt

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