Thursday, January 22, 2015


Room X and XI - Cinerary urns of the Hellenistic period from the fourth century BC
“Cinerary urn in alabaster” by the Master of Oenomaus, an artist who may have come from Volterra, first quarter of the second century BC from the area called La Rocca near Todi

“Monument with Adonis dying” about 225 BC in polychrome pottery, found in 1834 in Tuscania
It is not a cinerary urn but probably a lid of a large cinerary urn. Adonis symbolizes the youthful male beauty but also the death and renewal of nature
His myth is very complex with many different versions. He was killed by a wild boar during a hunting trip

“Four cinerary urns of the Ceicna family” found in a chamber tomb in Castiglione del Lago


Room XII - Collection of Bonifacio Falcioni from Viterbo

It was bought by Leo XIII Pecci (1878/1903) in 1898. It is very heterogeneous

Frieze executed at the time of Julius III Ciocchi Del Monte (1550/55) by Daniele da Volterra (1509/66) and pupils

“Figured stopper in bucchero” second half of the sixth century BC, tall stopper with the figured representation of a rooster

Room XIII - Clay sarcophagi from Tuscania


“Besides the production of sarcophagi in lithic material there is simultaneously, in internal southern Etruria, between the third and second century BC a feature production of terracotta sarcophagi, which sees the emergence of some workshops operating in Tuscania, from where also comes the funerary monument with Adonis dying” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

Room XIV - Roman Museum


Roman bronze and silver pieces formerly believed Italic or Etruscans

“Male statue” in bronze, one of the few existing examples of bronze statuary dating to the second half of the first century BC
The long neck was probably an optical correction aimed at a vision of the statue from the bottom. The eyeballs were originally made of colored stones, patinated bronze simulated skin and lips and nipples were simulated by copper inserts

He was emperor together with his son Volusianus in a very difficult period during which the plague raged in Rome and he had to deal with the incursions of the Goths and the Sassanids Persians

“Espalier (fulcrum) of a bed” end of the first century BC

“Silver vases with a dedication to Apollo” second half of the first century AD, from the thermal source Vicarello, near Bracciano

Room XV - Roman Museum


Glass, ivory, pottery from the first century BC to the first century AD

“Three sheets in relief” from the cycle of the twelve labors of Hercules: fighting with the lion, the Hydra of Lerna and the Cretan bull

In the showcase A there is in a rich selection of glasses of various age, of which the newest pieces date back to the late Roman Empire and the early Middle ages, along with ivory and bone objects

“Ivory Doll” first third of the fourth century AD with traces of cloth woven in gold
It was found in a sarcophagus in the left side of the Basilica of St. Sebastian along with the remains of a girl of 15 years

Room XVI - Roman Museum, Ager Vaticanus



“Roman oil lamps” first century AD, some with theatrical subjects

Two fronts of coffered chests in plaster of the Flavian period (69/96) from a columbarium discovered in the Vigna Moroni on the Appian Way in 1816: “Aphrodite and Adonis dying” and “Alexander-Zeus on the globe between Poseidon and Heracles”


“Altar dedicated to Cybele and Attis” 374 AD in marble, found in the area of St. Peter's Square

“In a not specified place in the vicinity of the Vatican Basilica stood the sanctuary of the Phrygian goddess Cybele, from which many altars with inscriptions come. It had to be closed as a result of measures taken by the Emperor Theodosius against the pagan cults in 391 and 392. Among the many altars with inscriptions found there is this altar dedicated to Cybele and Attis, with the sacred pine of Attis, a bull and a ram, memory of the sacrifices made, and objects of worship. In the inscription there is the exact date of the dedication: July 19, 374 AD” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

“Funerary sets” from tombs in the necropolis of the Autoparco Vaticano

Rooms XVII e XVIII - Vases, Laconic, Attic and Corinthian black-figure pottery


Figured Greek vases believed to be Etruscan until the early nineteenth century
The last rooms of the museum are dedicated to this remarkable Greek production found in Etruria

“Corinthian Olpe” 630/615 BC by the Painter of Vatican 73. An olpe was a small wine jug

“Between the end of the eighth century BC and the beginning of the seventh the almost absolute primacy of export markets in the Mediterranean was the prerogative of Corinth, whose refined products were widespread in southern Italy and Etruria. This olpe (pear-shaped jug with high trumpet-shaped lip), in transitional style, is decorated with superimposed friezes of the Orientalizing type: stripes with panthers, bulls, deer, herons and sphinxes” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

“Corinthian Oinochoe” about 570/550 BC from Cerveteri, with fighting of Ajax against Hector
The oinochoe was a vessel used for wine, characterized by an oval body, more or less elongated, with one loop and ranging from 20 to 40 cm (8 to 16 inches)

“Laconian kylix with Prometheus and Atlas” 560/550 BC of Spartan manufacturing, attributed to the Painter of Archesilas II
The kylix was a cup to drink wine just like we do now from glasses

“One of the earliest depictions of the myth of Atlas that reached us. Atlas, bearded, bend his knees under the weight of the mass that he must bear on his shoulders, having been condemned by Zeus to keep heaven separate from earth. To his punishment the one of a second Titan is associated, his brother Prometheus, guilty of having given fire to men, tied to a stake and perpetually tortured with an eagle that gnawed his liver which would grow back every night only to be eaten again. The combination of the two episodes has suggested that our painter was inspired directly by Hesiod's Theogony, where the two Titans are described one after the other” (Web site of the Vatican Museums - mv.

“Attic black-figured kylix” by the Painter of Phrynos about 560 BC from Vulci, with Ajax carrying the dead body of Achilles in splendid miniature style

“Attic black-figured amphora” signed by Nikosthenes about 530/510 BC from Cerveteri

“Attic black-figured amphora” by the Painter of the Vatican about 350 BC from Cerveteri

“Black-figured pelike” by the Painter of Plousios late sixth century BC from Cerveteri, with representation of the oil sale and greeting inscription: O father Zeus, may I become rich! A pelike was an anphora with a narrow neck, a flanged mouth, and a sagging, almost spherical belly

“Attic black-figured oinochoe” by the Painter of Amasis

Room XIX - Vases, black-figure and red figure Attic ceramic


On the walls painting of 1780 with “Works carried out under the pontificate of Pius VI” Braschi (1775/99) maybe by Bernardino Nocchi (1741/1812)

“Panathenaic amphora” by the Berlin Painter 500/480 BC

“Attic black-figured hydria” by the Group of Leagros about 500 BC from Cerveteri

“On the shoulder scenes in the gym are represented. The body depicts two knights in costume with Thessalian 'pétasos' (wide-brimmed traveling hat) and two spears in their hands. The inscriptions indicate the names of the horses 'Thrasos' (Courage) and 'Areté' (Virtue), and the two boys names, 'Olympiodoros' and 'Leagros', each celebrated as 'kalos' (handsome)” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

“Attic bilingual kylix” attributed to the Painter of Scheurleer about 530 BC from Vulci. Inside, black-figured man with a club, outside red-figures javelin thrower

“Around 530 BC in Attica was achieved the fundamental evolution that brought the potters to abandon the technique of black figures, adopting the red figures saved from the black painted background. This change allowed the pottery painters to get a better definition of the internal details of the figures through painted lines, as opposite to inscribed lines, in consonance with the evolution of painting art. For some time the mixed application of both techniques would be applied on the same object, accompanying the transition to the final adoption of the red figures” (Web Site Vatican Museums -

“Amphora with Achilles and Ajax playing checkers” (or a game similar to nowadays morra) and, on the other side, the Dioscuri back after the hunt, an absolute masterpiece by Exekìas 540/530 BC from Vulci

“The greatest of the artists who used the black-figure technique. About thirty vessels remained by him which express a preference for monumental and tested forms. This is one of his most intense works with a perfect composition, calm but tense: the two heroes bent on the table (the backs seem to go along with the pot profile), their heads covered by helmets, spears, shields” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)

“Excellence in drawing and painting, sharpness of detail and control, balance and power of composition are the obvious features of this extraordinary example of masterful vase painting. What is most striking is the way in which the scene manages to evoke the narrative and its emotional charge. The scene, apparently quiet, is full of omens and restrained anger threatening to explode soon” (John Griffiths Pedley)

“The representation of the intersection of the spears and the gimmick of drawing the feet of the two heroes in front of and behind the stools are a first insight into the depths of space in art” (Claudia Lambrugo)

“Attic red-figured amphora: the contest for the tripod and procession of musicians” by the Painter of Troilos about 480 BC from Cerveteri

“Three red-figured kylikes” by the Painter of Brygos 480 BC

“Red-figured lekythos: Death of Orpheus, killed by the women of Thrace” by the Painter of Brygos 470 BC. The lekythos was a cruet for ointments, used by athletes and funeral ceremonies

“Two red-figured kylikes” by the Painter of Makron about 480 BC from Vulci

“Two kylikes with gym scenes” by the Painter of Epeleios about 500 BC from Vulci

“Attic red-figured hydria with Hector and Achilles” by the Painter of Eucharides about 500 BC from Vulci

“Attic red-figured amphora: Hector's libation before the battle as parting from his parents, Priam and Hecuba. On the B-side: elderly man between two women” attributed to the Painter of Hector about 450 BC from Vulci

“Three Attic red-figured kylikes” by Douris 490/480 BC including large kylix with “Banqueters” outside and “Young girl who helps a young man throwing up” inside, from Vulci

“The joys of convivial meeting are exalted: drinking, music, declamation, the company of women. This cup that is characterized by the monumentality of the plastic figures is attributable to his first period. The scene provides an opportunity to experience, through the gestures of the guests, a number of positions and views on the move in perspective” (Marina Castoldi)

Attic red-figured kylix about 480 BC also by Douris from Cerveteri with “Jason swallowed by the monster that guarded the Golden Fleece” and saved by Athena

It is possible to see the Golden Fleece hanging from an oak branch

Attic red-figured kylix with “Oedipus hears the riddles of the sphinx” attributed to the Painter of Oedipus about 480/470 BC from Vulci. Outside there is a satyrical farce

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