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Virginia Museum Features Ancient Athenian Artisans

Athenian Potters and Painters: Greek Vases from Virginia Collections is being exhibited at The Muscarelle Museum of Art through Sept. 30, 2012, featuring vases on loan from private collections in Virginia and others from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Chrysler Museum of Art.

The collection showcases the development of Athenian pottery, beginning with the patterned decoration of a Geometric Amphora (ca. 720-700 B.C.) and ending with the later red-figure decoration on an Attic Red-Figure Column Krater by the Orestes Painter (ca. 440 B.C.).

One of the highlights, a calyx krater (ca. 410 B.C.) by the Nikias Painter, features the myth surrounding the birth of an early Athenian ruler named Erichthonios. The flowing drapery of the figures contrasts with the stiffer, nearly fold-less drapery of the earlier black-figure vases, illustrating the gradual evolution of Athenian painting.

The exhibition accompanies the international conference, Athenian Potters and Painters III, which was held at The College of William & Mary earlier this month. Two previous conferences, Athenian Potters and Painters I and II, were held in Athens at the American School of Classical Studies in 1994 and 2007.

Professor John Oakley, the organizer of the conference and exhibit, noted  that,“This is the first exhibit of classical antiquities ever at the Muscarelle.” His students in a seminar on Greek vasepainting last spring wrote many of the labels for the show and were involved in other ways in planning and presenting the exhibit.

Admission is $10.00, but free for Museum members, William & Mary faculty, staff, and students, and children under 12. For more information about this exhibit or the Museum in general, you can call 757-221-2700 or visit

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