The Dr. John and Helen Collis Lecture 2017: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century BC


The Berlin Painter and His World: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century BC


Dr. J. Michael Padgett, Curator of Ancient Art, Princeton University Art Museum

Sunday, September 24, 2017 
2:00–3:00 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium

Athenian (Attic) vase painting is the largest body of pictorial imagery to have survived from ancient Greece. Depictions of mythology, religious cults, and daily life offer a window on Athenian society, but their selective and often ambiguous character leave many questions unanswered. One of the principal means by which scholars have studied Attic vases has been through close analysis of their style, allowing for the attribution of individual works to the hands of specific, usually anonymous painters. An exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum (March 4–June 11, 2017) which will travel to the Toledo Museum of Art (July 7–October 1, 2017) uses the work of one such artist, the Berlin Painter (active 505–465 BC), as a springboard for a larger discussion of the role of stylistic analysis in art historical research. Although a humble craftsman within Athenian society, the painstaking identification of his surviving oeuvre now affords the Berlin Painter a place among the finest artists of ancient Greece. 

J. Michael Padgett has been curator of ancient art at the Princeton University Art Museum since 1992. His principal research interests are in Greek art and archaeology, especially Attic vase painting, and has curated several exhibitions of ancient art. His published work includes Vase-Painting in Italy: Red Figure and Related Works in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 1993); Roman Sculpture in The Art Museum, Princeton University (Princeton, 2001); The Centaur’s Smile: The Human Animal in Early Greek Art (Princeton 2003); and City of Gold: The Archaeology of Polis Chrysochous (Princeton 2012).  

Dr. Padgett will sign copies of his latest book The Berlin Painter and His World: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century BC (Yale University Press, 2017) following the lecture. 

FREE; reservations required.

The Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio