BMCR 2022.06.38

Inszenierung von Identitäten: unteritalische Vasenmalerei zwischen Griechen und Indigenen

, , Inszenierung von Identitäten: unteritalische Vasenmalerei zwischen Griechen und Indigenen. Beihefte zum Corpus vasorum antiquorum, 8. München: Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2018. Pp. 167. ISBN 9783769637793 €59,00.

[Authors and titles are listed below.]

This, the eighth volume in the German series of Beihefte to the German Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, is based on papers given in October 2016 in Berlin. The occasion also marked the exhibition organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Berlin Antikensammlung: “Gefährliche Perfektion. Antike Grabvasen aus Apulien,” which concentrated on a restored complex of excavated graves from Ceglie del Campo in Apulia.

Valentina Garaffa focuses on red-figure vessels from the South Italian region of Oinotria, whose mythological king was Oinotros. Many Attic vases have been discovered there, as well as local wares. A large number of the vases have Dionysiac imagery, very appropriate for the region’s name. Meanwhile, a sanctuary with a large votive deposit of figured vases still awaiting full publication has been found at Garaguso.

Andrea Montanaro discusses some rich warrior graves found in Apulia, which display a desire on the part of the aristocracy to be distinguished from the rest of society. One of the important, rich sites excavated and specifically mentioned in this essay is Rutigliano.

Francesca Silvestrelli makes a rich contribution to these proceedings, citing much unpublished material from the graves and sanctuaries of Heraclea, as well as from some habitation sites. She also includes a reference to ca, 2,500 tombs from the Acropolis, most of which are unpublished. Local workshops producing terracottas and black gloss pottery have also been found at the site, as well as important Italic vases, including those by the Amykos Painter and his followers. Unfortunately, the essay focuses primarily on vessels that are already known.

Martine Denoyelle’s essay brings us to the traditional area of connoisseurship. The author bemoans the lack of an instrument for keeping the bibliography of South Italian figured pottery up to date—like the Beazley Archive does for Attic—as well as for keeping track of new examples by South Italian vase-painters. For an example of where new finds change or supplement our understanding of a vase-painter significantly, she chooses the Palermo Painter. Originally 16 vases, mainly bell-kraters, were attributed to this vase-painter; to them she adds 13 others which display a wide range of shapes. In addition, she shows that the Palermo Painter and the Cyclops Painter are the same artist.

Edward Herring focuses on an Italic local shape—the nestoris—which is adapted by the Greek potters and painters of Southern Italy. The earliest are Lucanian, the later and more common are Apulian red-figure. Sadly,only 36 nestorides are known and eight of these show indigenous people (compared to 200 Apulian column-kraters which do). The shape is based onthe local Messapian trozzella, and was used for holding liquids. Nestorides are depicted on other vases.

 Thomas Carpenter’s traditional iconographic study concentrates on the obverses of Apulian column kraters from the late fifth century to 370 BC and specifically on the scenes of warriors in a distinctive local dress. Interestingly, almost all Apulian red-figure column kraters come from central Apulia (Peucetia), mainly from tombs, and several famous Italian families in Ruvo di Puglia started acquiring them early on, as for example the Jatta Collection in Ruvo. Short, belted tunics are the main male costume for the Italic warriors, along with long hair. A common scene is the departure of a warrior performing a libation.

Christiane Nowak investigates the iconography of locals on Campanian red-figure vases, concluding, among other observations, that interpretation of these images has changed because of post-colonial studies. Iconographical details include the shoulder mantles worn by the women and their distinct forms of head coverings, including turbans. Grave paintings in Capua started around 370 BC and played a role in influencing the vase paintings showing many types of warriors. Some of the typical elements of these images include short tunics, bronze greaves, and Chalcidian helmets; some of the typical scenes depict a warrior’s departure, libations, and duels.

Keely Elizabeth Heuer postulates the existence of an Italic sympotic cult of Dionysos, although no temple of this god or other archaeological material provides indisputable evidence. On Apulian vases, however, Dionysiac iconography includes men and women in native dress, who begin to appear together regularly, starting ca. 380 BC in the Tarporley Painter’s work and lasting until ca 60 years later with the work of the Plain Style Painter. The author sees this feature as possibly reaffirming and reestablishing the bonds of marriage and the entire family unit.

Luigi Todisco tries to answer the question as to the model/source for the images of funerary naiskoi on vases from central and Southern Italy. There are some 2000 vases, dating from 350 BC to the end of the fourth century. Todisco focuses on Attic tombstones, Tarentine limestone grave reliefs, and Attic white ground lekythoi. One can note here that there are some Attic red-figure vases depicting tombstones as well.

Luca Giuliani asks why Apulian vase-painters showed such interest in Attic tragedies. He argues that the Apulian masters were interested in neither the production nor the performance aspect of Athenian tragedies, but rather in the plot.

Lilian Schönheit explores regional differences in how plays were depicted on South Italian vases. Her typical examples are the Lucanian scenes of comedy, which are fewer than the Apulian, and the Sicilian theater scenes, on which the figures are less active than the images on other fabrics. A useful map marks the findspots of scenes of comedy.

Stine Schierup concentrates on three thematically related Lucanian red-figure vases in Denmark’s National Museum: a hydria, a poorly preserved amphora, and a squat lekythos. All three and others in the Museum’s collection are from the Workshop of the Painter of Naples 1959 and his followers. Apparently, as the iconography suggests, the vases were local products, made for local use. Of iconographic interest are the wheel-shaped branding marks on some horses and the acrobats atop some of the other.

Luigia Melillo examines he questionable restoration practices of the infamous restorer Raffaele Gargiulo, by analyzing a volute krater by the Darius Painter, Naples inv. 81667, recomposed from 440 plus fragments. The primary subject matter on the vase is an Amazonomachy. The handles are modern.

Marie Svoboda’s essay also concerns the modern history of four vases restored by Raffaele Gargiulio, starting with a review of the material used for the restoration, and later the methodology employed. Fourteen vases in toto were discovered together in 1828 at Apulian Ceglie del Campo. They include the four Apulian red-figure vases in this paper: two loutrophoroi and two volute kraters. During the World Wars the vases were taken outside Germany, including a stay in Moscow. Among the techniques employed were the use of modern ceramic pieces to replace missing ancient ones. A variety of different types of scientific analyses were employed, including ultraviolet, infrared, X-radiography, SEM-EDS, pXRF and FTIR.

The final essay, by David Saunders, concentrates on some of the history of the vases after their discovery. In addition, certain details are corrected. For example, it is noted that Geryon on one of the kraters has a triple, and not a double, body. Elsewhere in Ceglie large vases were found in other burials dating to 340-320 BC; the Spartan festival of the Karneia is depicted on one of them. All such vases were made for funerary purposes, and all, save one dish, have a hole in their base, the four examined in this paper included. A wide range of scenes are represented, including the Judgement of Paris, and Heracles with Omphale and Hebe. The theme of love enduring and transcending is important, as is an idyllic vision of life beyond this world, with Aphrodite playing a major role on a number of vases.

To conclude, this is a rich and important volume that makes a major contribution to our understanding of South Italian pottery. It is unfortunate, however, that images in several chapters are too small or blurry to provide adequate illustration (e.g., in the essays of Garaffa, Montanaro, Silvestrelli, Todisco, Giuliani).

Authors and titles

Valentina Garaffa: “Vor den rotfigurige bemalten Vasen: griechische Formen und Mythenbilder in den indigenen Kontexten Süditaliens”
Andrea C. Montanaro: “Death is not for me: Funerary Contexts of Warrior Chiefs from Pre-Roman Apulia”
Francesca Silvestrelli: “La ceramica italiota a figure rosse ad Eraclea (ultimo quarto del V – prima metà IV secolo a. C.)”
Martine Denoyelle: “Trendall and After: Some News from the Palermo Painter”
Edward Herring: “Identity, Gender and the Nestoris in Apulian red-figure”
T.H. Carpenter: “A Vase Shape as a Marker of Identity: A Case Study from 4th century BC Apulia”
Christiane Nowak: “Griechen und Einheimische auf rotfigurigen Bildern kampanischer Vasen. Eine zulassige Dichotomie?”
Keely Elizabeth Heuer: “Detecting Dionysos in Indigenous Contexs: Clues in South Italian Vase-Painting”
Luigi Todisco: “Vasi con naisko tra Taranto e centri italici”
Luca Giuliani: “Theatralische Elemente in der apulischen Vasenmalerei: Bescheidene Ergebnisse einer alten Kontroverse”
Lilian Schönheit: “Theaterbilder in Spannungsfeld zwischen Italioten und Italikern”
Stine Schierup: “Warriors and Acrobats. A Case Study of Late Fourth-Century B.C. Lucanian Vases in the Collection of the National Museum of Denmark”
Luigia Melillo: “’Da cento pezzi inutili si restituisce in Napoli il vaso intero.’: Raffaele Gargiulo e l’ Officina di restauro di vasi italo-greci del Real Museo Borbonico di Napoli”
Marie Svoboda: “A Six-year Journey: The Study and Conservation of Four Apulian Vases from Ceglie del Campo”
David Saunders: “The Iconographical Context of the Ceglie Vases”