Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.03.04

Federico Utili, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum Deutschland 75 Mannheim Reiss-Engelhorn Museen, ehemals Reiss-Museum Band 2.   Munich:  C.H. Beck, 2003.  Pp. 92; pls. 60.  ISBN 3-406-50565-1.  EUR 80.00.  



Reviewed by Jasper Gaunt, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta, GA (jgaunt@pop3.service.emory.ed)
Word count: 1397 words

The eighty-six vases in Mannheim published here include Attic geometric (2), Corinthian (6), Attic black-figure (10), bilingual (1) and red-figure (10), plastic (1), relief ware (1), Etruscan impasto and bucchero (8), Etruscan orientalising black-figure (1) and Etrusco-Corinthian (2), sundry Etruscan (1), Daunian (5), Apulian red-figure (9), Campanian red-figure (1), Paestan (1), Gnathian (16), relief-ware (2), black-glazed (8) and unglazed (1). Many of these are unpublished, or have been published only locally. Astute acquisitions made in the last thirty years include much interesting material. On the other hand, seven vases had already been published in Adolf von Greifenhagen's fascicule, CVA Mannheim 1 [West Germany 13, 1958]: they are included again here on grounds that they have been cleaned, or even re-fired, after sustaining damage during World War II.

Antiquities at Mannheim go back to the collections of Elector Karl Theodor, and his appointment of Peter Anton von Verschaffelt in 1752 as court painter and director of the academy of drawing. Fifty years later, however, this promising beginning (which included the Hellenistic sculpture of the Drunken Woman) received a major set-back when several of finest pieces were transferred, along with the Electoral title, to Munich. Not to be deterred, a group of lovers of antiquity came together in 1859 with a view to acquiring classical pieces; the most recent additions catalogued here were made in 1988. This patient building up of archaeological collections has continued until the most recent years in Europe, hindered in greatest part by financial stringencies.

The German fascicules of the CVA have long been acknowledged to be the best, and Utili continues in this distinguished tradition. One looks forward to his work to come. The text gives detailed descriptions and contains information not usually found in Corpus Vasorum fascicules, such as the weight and volume of each vase (it would be interesting to know what method of measuring the volume he used); a pity, perhaps, that the heights of the figures themselves were not included. In the bibliographical sections, provision of the Beazley Archive Database numbers will facilitate future tracking of the burgeoning publication industry. The photographs by J. Christen are particularly sharp, and C.H. Beck has reproduced them superbly. In general, there is very generous photographic coverage. Four color plates will certainly be the source for several slides. These are supplemented by the author's fine line-drawings where the vases are too damaged to be reproduced effectively. Ample, sensitive profile drawings by Ph. Dolmazon, reproduced at a large scale, give all one needs. The editing is excellent; the only mistake that seems to have crept in is a Greek mis-spelling of Lydos.

Utili's rigorous standards applied to the most lowly of the vases cannot but win respect. If this writer has a criticism, it is that, paradoxically and by contrast, some of the more important vases are treated with relative neglect. The oinochoe that is the name-vase of the Mannheim Painter (pl. 19) would have benefitted from more generous coverage, and the sides of the battle cup (pls. 22-23) are somewhat cramped. Conversely, the beautiful line-drawings of the Etruscan urn (pp. 45-47) could have been reproduced at a smaller scale without significant loss of information. It is not clear what the black-and-white details of the Ajax and Achilles neck-amphora (pl. 8) add to the colour images on colour pl. 2.

Sundry comments on individual objects follow.

Pl. 1. Geometric amphora. The iconography of grazing deer with water-birds is discussed, for bronze catch-plate fibulae, by M. Bennett, in S. Langdon, From Pasture to Polis. Art in the Age of Homer (Columbia, Missouri 1993) 79-80. Cf. also D.G. Mitten, "Some Homeric animals on the Lion Painters Pitcher at Harvard," in the Ages of Homer. A tribute to Emily Townsend Vermeule, eds. J.B. Carter and S.P. Morris (Austin, Texas 1995) 373-388.

Pl. 3. Corinthian oinochoe. See also C.W. Neeft, "What is in a name? The Painter of Vatican 73 in the Getty", in Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 6 (2000) 1-34.

Pl. 5. Group E amphora. To references to the Group add Paralipomena 54-59, 130. For horses, see also M.B. Moore, Horses on black-figured Greek vases of the archaic period, ca. 620-480 B.C. (diss., NYU-IFA 1972). The inventory number of the Stesias kalos amphora in Toledo is not 801022 but 80.1022 (CVA 2 [USA 20] pls. 81-83).

Pls. 6-7. Neck-amphora. This has been attributed to the Tolouse Painter by Bothmer in The Greeks and the Sea, ed. S. Vryonis, Jr. (New York 1993) 39, 44-45 figs 18a-b. For the bird on the prow, cf. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica I 1084-1089 (H. Fraenkel, Noten zu den Argonautika des Apollonios [Munich 1968] 131-132).

Pl. 8. Neck amphora with Ajax and Achilles. This is listed by S. Woodford, JHS 102 [1982] 181 A 7. For the subject, see also M.B. Moore, "Exekias and Telemonian Ajax", AJA 84 (1980) 417-434. An early black-figured mastoid in a New York private collection shows Ajax and Achilles sit facing one another while, on the other side between their backs, is a section of crenallated wall, whether the city wall of Troy or the Greek camp. On representations where the scores are inscribed, Achilles is usually winning, leading M.B. Moore to note that this is yet another example of Ajax as tragic loser: an exception to this rule occurs on a black-figured hydria of the Leagros Group in Coral Gables, which shows Ajax as victor (four, to Achilles' three).

Pl. 9. Neck-amphora with eyes. By making the eyes face out towards the handles, the handles become (in a sense) noses; and by extension, the pictures thus become ears: visual counterparts as it were for the audience of the poets' "klea andron".

Pl. 12. The tradition of cockerels appearing in cup tondos persists into red-figure, as on two by the Eurgides Painter, Toledo 1961.25 (ARV2 90, no. 36) and a fragment in a New Jersey private collection.

Pl. 13. The komos includes a courting scene at right on A: for these see J.D. Beazley, "Some Attic vases in the Cyprus Museum" (Proceedings of the British Academy 33 [1948] 7-31, reprinted edition by D.C. Kurtz [Oxford 1988] 3-25); K. Schauenburg, "Erastes und eromenos auf einer Schale des Sokles", AA 1965 862-863.

Pl. 17. For the shape, see J.H. Oakley, The Achilles Painter (Mainz 1997) 78-80 with references.

Pl. 18.9. To the group, add a black-glaze example on loan in Atlanta (Michael C. Carlos Museum L 1999.31.28), and another with a similarly elaborate wreath in the New York market.

Pl. 19. Another oinochoe of the same shape by the same potter and by the Mannheim Painter in a private collection has an identical owl and foliage on the neck and, on the body, the Seven Against Thebes, one of the three warriors inscribed in faint, tiny letters, Parthenopaios.

Pl. 23. In composition and style, some faint reflections linger of the achievements of the Pioneers on creations such as the Hypsis hydria in Munich and Arezzo volute-krater by Euphronios.

Pl. 28. Utili suggests that the figure behind Hector should, even if a warrior rather than an archer, be Apollo (as opposed to the soul of Hector or even Deiphobos); compare for instance the Berlin Painter's volute-krater in London (E 468: ARV2 206, no. 132; J.D. Beazley, The Berlin Painter [Mainz 1974] pls. 29-31).

Pl. 29.6. A similar kantharos was recently in the American market (Houston, Texas). Compare also one on loan in Princeton: A. Rosenbaum et al., In Celebration. Works of art from the collections of Princeton alumni and friends of the art museum, Princeton University (Princeton 1997) 10 no. 7.

Pl. 31. A better photograph of the St. Petersburg bucchero cauldron is reproduced in Aus den Schatzkammern Eurasiens. Meisterwerke antiker Kunst (Zurich 1993) 200-201.

Pl. 33.3-6. Another Heron Class stamnos is on loan in Atlanta, Michael C. Carlos Museum L. 1983.31.28. For the Group recently, see also K. Hamma in A Passion for Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (Malibu 1994) 187-189 nos. 88-89.

Pl. 39. For the subject of urinating, see also B. Cohen and H.A. Shapiro, "The use and abuse of Athenian vases," in Essays in Honor of Dietrich von Bothmer, eds. A.J. Clark and J. Gaunt (Amsterdam 2002) 83-90.

Pl. 47. Several large Apulian black-glaze vessels with ribbing, all from the same workshops, have been in various parts of the market in the course of the last thirty years.

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