Friday, January 23, 2015


Room XX - Astarita Collection
A prestigious collection of Greek ceramics donated to Paul VI Montini (1963/78) in 1967

In the frieze paintings “Atlas, Banquet offered by Saul to Samuel, Banquet of Thyestes and allegorical figures” by Orlando Parentini for Pius IV Medici (1559/65)

“The growing support for the figurative style contributed to the crisis of the Corinthian production. The trade of Athens with the Etruscans and Magna Grecia (Southern Italy) rapidly deprived the Corinthians of their usual markets. The reaction of the Corinthian artisans was determined even trying to imitate the nicer color of the Attic clay covering the bottom of their vases with red-orange mixture. However, this emulative effort stopped before the compositional freedom and the widespread use of engraving in Athenians' works. This crater has many additions in red and white, for details on a black background engraving was used while the details on a white background are painted. Vases of this type were still exported to the West, but the preference given by the Etruscans to the Athenian pottery made the Corinthian one fail” (John Griffiths Pedley)

“Attic black-figured kylix with heads of women” by Sakonides 550/500 BC from Orvieto

“Bilingual Attic kylix: inside centaur with black figures; outside, javelin thrower with red figures” by Oltos about 520 BC

“Bilingual Attic kylix: inside black-figured trumpeter; outside red-figured combat” by Oltos about 520 BC

“Attic red-figured kylix: inside warrior; outside combat” by Douris about 490/480 BC

“Attic red-figured Stamnos: on the A side, two warriors standing and a fallen warrior; on the B-side, two warriors” by the Painter of Kleophrades about 485/480 BC

Room XXI (of the Meridian) - Vases, Attic ceramics with red figures


The room takes its name from the meridian of Cardinal Francesco Saverio de Zelanda Secretary of State of Pius VI, who lived in these rooms until 1801 and who also had here his astronomical instruments

The god is represented here as he flies over the sea in a very elegant composition

“This vessel has been considered, since the authors of the nineteenth century inventories, as one of the most important of the Vatican collection, and it is dated to the juvenile period of the painter. The figure is isolated, on the high-gloss background of the vase, according to the peculiar taste for composition of this master, who prefers elegance and harmony above all in his creations” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

“Eponymous amphora with Achilles standing” by the Painter of Achilles considered a pupil of the Berlin Painter about 440 BC from Vulci

“To the Painter of Achilles are attributed more than 200 vessels. He loved painting solitary figures or pairs of monumental structure” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)

“The accuracy of the representation of the body is extraordinary, whether it is the left leg or the eye painted in profile. The deeply sculpted folds of the drapery of the figures of the Parthenon find here their equivalent in painting with the wavy lines of clothing, thick and irregular on the left shoulder, capable in subtle ways to give the feeling of weight and texture of the fabric, whereas instead they are broken, curled and bent as a hook on the upper thighs. The attitude is similar to the abstract peace of the figures of the Parthenon, while the posture and position refer to that of the Doryphorus by Polykleitos” (John Griffiths Pedley)

“Crater with Hermes handing the little Dionysus to old Silenus” by the Painter of the Boston Phiale pupil of the Painter of Achilles about 440/430 BC from Vulci
 On the other side “Three Muses”. Polychrome on white background

“Hydria” by the Painter of the Boston Phiale 440/430 BC from Vulci

“Kylix with Triptolemus” by the Painter of Jena about 410 BC from Vulci
 The vessels of this painter, so called because most of the vases attributed to him are in the German city, were largely carried out in Athens but have been found in Etruria, as well as in Crimea

Room XXII - Italiot and Etruscan ceramics with red figures


In this room there are the main productions: Lucania, Campania, Apulia and Paestum, with the exception of the factories in Sicily

“Paestum Crater” by Assteas painter of Paestum about 360/330 BC painted pottery with Zeus courting Alcmene, wife of Amphitryon, under the eyes of Hermes

“In the production of pottery painters from Paestum there is a strong inspiration from the theatrical Italic world. The grotesque hairstyles of comedians shown here are typical of the popular taste of the fliacica comedy (from Phliax, figure of the Dionysian procession), which flourished in Magna Graecia during the fourth and third century BC. Our artist signed six vessels, while others, like the Vatican example, are attributed to him on the basis of technical and stylistic similarities” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

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