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William & Mary Hosts Ancient Athenian Pottery Conference

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is hosting an international conference on Greek art and archeology, entitled Athenian Potters and Painters III, Sept 11 – 14, 2012.

It is the first time that more than 75 scholars from across the world have come together in the U.S. to discuss excavation pottery, iconography, painters and potters, export and trade, shapes, theory, chronology and the influence of Athenian pottery on vases from other regions. They will also hold workshops. Before taking place in America, the conference was twice held in Athens.

Chancellor Professor and Forrest D. Murden, Jr., and Professor of Classical Studies John Oakley,  a renowned specialist in Greek vase painting, iconography and Roman sarcophagi, are leading the conference.

After receiving a $10,000 Plumeri Award in 2011, Oakley decided to take his newly-earned bounty and invest it in Athenian pottery and address the key aspects of its study. “I wanted to return to the College what had been given to me,” said the 33-year-old professor.

The four-day conference kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on September 11 with an opening speech by Oakley, along with Provost Michael R. Halleran and Vice Provost for International Affairs and Director of the Reves Center for International Studies Stephen Hanson. The keynote lecture by Joan R. Mertens, curator, Department of Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Mertens is the author of How to Read Greek Vases, and will lead a discussion on Chariots in Attic Black-figure Vase Painting: Antecedents and Ramifications.

Guest speakers hail from universities and institutions across the globe, including Princeton, Oxford, the German Archaeological Institute in Athens, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A complete list can be found on the conference website. In conjunction with the conference, a special exhibition of 37 Greek vases will be on display at the College’s Muscarelle Museum of Art, from August 18 through September 30. The collection showcases the development of Athenian pottery from 700-410 B.C.

Given the College’s status as second-oldest in the nation, Oakley said he can’t think of a better place to discuss and view Athenian pottery. “We’re showing old stuff in an old place,” he commented.

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