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Ancient Greek vases on display at the Muscarelle

Athenian Potters and Painters: Greek Vases from Virginia Collections opens at The College of William & Mary's Muscarelle Museum of Art on August 18, 2012. The exhibit features vases on loan from private collections in Virginia, with additional vases 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 BCE) and ending with the later red-figure decoration on an Attic Red-Figure Column Krater by the Orestes Painter (ca. 440 BCE). One of the highlights of the show, a calyx krater (ca. 410 BCE) by the Nikias Painter, features the myth surrounding the birth of an early Athenian ruler named Erichthonios. The flowing drapery of the Nikias Painter’s figures contrasts with the stiffer, nearly fold-less drapery of the earlier black-figure vases, illustrating the gradual evolution of Athenian painting.

The exhibition at the Muscarelle Museum of Art accompanies the international conference, Athenian Potters and Painters III, which will be held at William & Mary Sept. 11 -14. The 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. The goal of the conference is to feature a diverse group of scholars and their many different approaches to the study of Athenian pottery. Topics include: iconography, painters and potters, export and trade, shapes, theory, chronology, and the influence of Athenian pottery on vases from other regions and vice versa.

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

The Muscarelle Museum of Art is located on Jamestown Road on the campus of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday. Docent tours are available at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sundays and other times as announced. Admission to the Museum for this exhibition is $10. Admission is free for museum members, William & Mary faculty, staff, and students and children under twelve. For more information about this exhibit or the museum in general, call 757-221-2700 or visit