Ancient Ceramics and Glass

Among the large number of ceramic and glass artifacts surviving from antiquity are some of the finest objects ever made, including such masterpieces as the Euphronios krater and the Portland vase. Ancient ceramics and glass objects were both functional and decorative and, in many cases, remain unsurpassed for the beauty and originality of their form, technique, and design. This seminar covers topics ranging from the earliest Neolithic wares of the ancient Near East to the blown glass and ceramic vessels of the Roman period. Subjects of interest include the technology of pottery and glass fabrication, important local styles and their development, and the various uses to which pottery and glass have been put. Highlights of the Bronze Age include the elegant Kamares ware from Minoan Crete, the invention of the potter’s wheel, and the earliest glass vessels from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt, for which the manufacturing process can be reconstructed based on ancient cuneiform texts. Special attention is paid to the history of ancient Greek vase painting and to studies in connoisseurship that have contributed to our knowledge of potters, painters, and the development of style in the art of ancient Greece. Vases by black-figure artists such as the Amasis Painter and Exekias were followed by the “bilingual” productions of the Andokides workshop, culminating in the work of the masters of Attic red figure, including Euphronios and the Berlin Painter. The case of the Euphronios krater, formerly in New York and now in the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome, will serve as a prime example in a discussion of the cultural property debate. 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.