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The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller by…
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The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller

by John H. Oakley

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Not so long ago, developing an informed appreciation for Greek vases, in particular fineware with painted scenes, was no easy matter for anyone aside from serious students and dedicated connoisseurs with access to the world’s museums. As for illustrated books, there wasn’t much between the affordable volumes of John Boardman’s Thames & Hudson paperback series, with their masterly text and plentiful but small and hard-to-see photographs in black and white, and expensive volumes with magnificent photos, mostly relegated to academic libraries. That’s all changed, largely because of the Internet, where high-resolution photographs of individual vases — on academic and curatorial websites with expert analysis, certainly, but also on the Flickr accounts of museumgoing tourists — let you zoom in on the tiny details in which much of the delight of Greek vase painting lies. But the lower cost of printing has also put beautifully printed large-format books within reach, and for readers getting interested in Greek vases for the first time, a coherent illustrated overview of the subject is invaluable and much more manageable on the page than on-screen.
 
Lavishly illustrated, The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller is a beautiful book, its glorious photographs seeming to promise an equally illuminating text—a promise regrettably left unfulfilled for the general reader to whom it is addressed. The images are drawn primarily from the collections of the British Museum and spiced with a fair number from the J. Paul Getty Museum.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 160606147X, Hardcover)

This richly illustrated volume offers a fascinating introduction to ancient Greek vases for the general reader. It presents vases not merely as beautiful vessels to hold water and wine, but also as instruments of storytelling and bearers of meaning.

The first two chapters analyze the development of different shapes of pottery and relate those shapes to function, the evolution in vase production techniques and decoration, and the roles of potters, painters, and their workshops. Subsequent chapters focus on vases as the primary source of imagery from ancient Greece, offering unique information about mythology, religion, theater, and daily life. The author discusses how to identify the figures and scenes depicted in vase paintings, what these narratives would have meant to the people who lived with them and used them, and how they therefore reflect the cultural values of their time. Also examined is the impact Greek vases had on the art, architecture, and literature of subsequent generations.

Based on the rich collections of the British Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum, the exquisite details of the works offer the reader the opportunity for an intimate interaction with the graphic beauty and narrative power of ancient vases often not available in a gallery setting.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:49 -0400)

This richly illustrated volume offers a fascinating introduction to ancient Greek vases for the general reader. It presents vases not merely as beautiful vessels to hold water and wine, but also as instruments of storytelling and bearers of meaning. The first two chapters analyze the development of different shapes of pottery and relate those shapes to function, the evolution in vase production techniques and decoration, and the roles of potters, painters, and their workshops. Subsequent chapters focus on vases as the primary source of imagery from ancient Greece, offering unique information about mythology, religion, theater, and daily life. The author discusses how to identify the figures and scenes depicted in vase paintings, what these narratives would have meant to the people who lived with them and used them, and how they therefore reflect the cultural values of their time. Also examined is the impact Greek vases had on the art, architecture, and literature of subsequent generations.… (more)

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