Skip to main content

Italy, Sicily and lekythoi attributed to the Brygos painter


I have been working on a piece of research that will address how museums develop their collections. I happened to choose the example of Attic red-figured lekythoi attributed to the Brygos painter. I thought it would be interesting to see where such pieces first surfaced and how many have find-spots.

There are 31 examples in the Beazley Archive database. The distribution is perhaps telling. Only one piece comes from Greece: Eretria on the island of Euboea. Eight leythoi have been found on Sicily: 7 at Gela, 1 at Selinus. A further example was found on Lipari. Two singletons have been found in southern Italy: at Paestum and Armento. A further example has the general find-spot of 'Italy' and another formed part of the Hamilton collection and probably came from the area around Naples. In other words, less than half the lekythoi have any sort of indication where they were found.

But what about the others? Some were collected well before the 1970 UNESCO Convention.  Eleven do not have a stated source (some of those are recent, i.e. post-1970, acquisitions; others, such as in Berlin, Boston and New York, are older). Three surfaced through the Swiss market and one through a Swiss private collection. One appeared through Sotheby's in London, and another through Robin Symes.

I have commented on the intellectual consequences of such lost contexts for Athenian pottery before (e.g. the Sarpedon krater; the Berlin painter). Were any of the seventeen lekythoi without recorded find-spots found at Athens (or in Attica)? How many were removed from archaeological contexts in Sicily (or even Gela)? What about from sites in southern Italy?

Greece (1)
Eretria, Euboea: London, British Museum 1899.2-17.3

Italy (3)
Armento: Berlin, Antikensammlung F2205
Paestum: Paestum, Museo Archeologico Nazionale 4113
No place given: Paris, Musee du Louvre G381

Sicily (8)
Gela: Providence (RI), Rhode Island School of Design 25.078; New York (NY), Metropolitan Museum 25.189.1; Boston (MA), Museum of Fine Arts 13.189; Oxford, Ashmolean Museum V318; New York (NY), Metropolitan Museum 24.97.28; Gela, Museo Archeologico N67; Gela, Museo Archeologico N61
Selinus: Palermo, Mus. Arch. Regionale V668

Lipari (1)
Glasgow, Museum & Art Gallery, Kelvingrove 1903.70K

No find-spots

Naples, Hamilton Collection: London, British Museum 2000.11-1.38

Swiss market (3): Basel, Munzen und Medaillen A.G.: Bochum S1201; Shelby White collection; unstated [12677];
Swiss private collection (1): Bloomington (IN), Indiana University Art Museum 77.30.3

London: Sotheby's (1): unstated [43713];
Robin Symes (1): Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum: AP84.16;

Unstated (11): Malibu (CA), The J. Paul Getty Museum 83.AE.241; Geneva, Musee d'Art et d'Histoire 27810; Greek private collection; Wurzburg, Universitat, Martin von Wagner Mus. K1823; Berlin, Antikensammlung F2206; New York (NY), Metropolitan Museum 09.221.43; New York (NY), Metropolitan Museum 28.57.12; Providence (RI), Rhode Island School of Design 35.707; Hartford (CT), Wadsworth Atheneum 1963.40; Switzerland, Private [204118]; Boston (MA), Museum of Fine Arts 10.180;


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

fabio2.isman said…
beautiful work, thanks

Popular posts from this blog

Codename: Ainsbrook

I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a Viking burial had been found. The location in Yorkshire was so sensitive that it was given a codename: Ainsbrook. Here is the summary:
In late 2003 two metal detectorists were working in a field in Yorkshire. They found 'treasure' buried just beneath the surface – a collection of Viking material next to a body. Although they had been detecting on the site for a number of years, during which time they had made large numbers of finds, nothing they had uncovered previously compared with this. They decided to share their discovery with archaeologists.The programme explored the tension between metal-detectorists and the English Heritage sponsored archaeologists putting six trenches into the field based on a geo-physical survey. Finds made by the metal-detectorists did not easily map onto the archaeological features.

Part of the programme had an …

George Ortiz collection to be displayed in London

Christie's is due to display part of the former collection of the late George Ortiz in London in a non-selling show to mark the 25th anniversary of the exhibition at the Royal Academy. There is a statement on the Christie's website ("The Ortiz Collection — ‘proof that the past is in all of us’"). Max Bernheimer is quoted: ‘Ortiz was one of the pre-eminent collectors of his day’.

We recall the associations with Ortiz such as the Horiuchi sarcophagus, the Hestiaios stele fragment, the marble funerary lekythos, and the Castor and Pollux.

Bernheimer will, no doubt, wish to reflect on the Royal Academy exhibition by reading Christopher Chippindale and David W. J. Gill. 2000. "Material consequences of contemporary classical collecting." American Journal of Archaeology 104: 463-511 [JSTOR].

Bernheimer will probably want to re-read the two pieces by Peter Watson that appeared in The Times: , "Ancient art without a history" and "Fakes - the artifice b…

Tutankhamun, Christie's and rigorous due dligence

It was announced today that the Egyptian authorities would be taking legal action against Christie's over the sale of the head of Tutankhamun ("Egypt to sue Christie's to retrieve £4.7m Tutankhamun bust", BBC News 9 July 2019).

The BBC reports:
Egypt's former antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass, said the bust appeared to have been "stolen" in the 1970s from the Temple of Karnak. "The owners have given false information," he told AFP news agency. "They have not shown any legal papers to prove its ownership." Christie's maintain the history of the piece as follows:
It stated that Germany's Prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis reputedly had it in his collection by the 1960s, and that it was acquired by an Austrian dealer in 1973-4. However the family of von Thurn und Taxis claim that the head was never in that collection [see here].

Christie's reject any hint of criticism:
"Christie's would not and do not sell any work whe…