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

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

Greek, Attic, attributed to the Berlin Painter, ca. 490–480 B.C. Fragment from a Red-figure lekythos: woman standing at an altar. Ceramic, h. 19.6 cm., w. 9.2 cm., d. 0.4 cm. Gift of Jasper Gaunt in memory of Jill Gannon (2000-149)

The Berlin Painter was the name given by Sir John Davidson Beazley (1885–1970) to an otherwise anonymous Athenian vase-painter, active in the first quarter of the fifth century B.C., whose hand he recognized in nearly 300 complete and fragmentary vases in public and private collections around the world. Since Beazley’s first published identification of the Berlin Painter in 1911, the oeuvre of this still-anonymous Athenian draughtsman has grown to some 330 works, and esteem for his elegant, approachable style has never lessened.

This exhibition will feature 84 vessels and statuettes of the early fifth century, including 54 of the finest vases attributed to the Berlin Painter, representing a full range of subjects, sacred and profane. Collectively these works open a window into a world 2,500 years distant and remind us of the enduring importance of archaeology and of sustained visual analysis. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

The Berlin Painter and His World: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century B.C. has been made possible by generous support from Annette Merle-Smith; the Stavros Niarchos Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; Frederick H. Schultz Jr., Class of 1976; the Leon Levy Foundation; Hiram Butler; James and Marilyn Simons; the Stanley J. Seeger ’52 Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University; and Susan and John Diekman, Class of 1965. Additional support has been provided by Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.; Raynette and Edward O. Boshell Jr.; Ross and Carol Brownson; Gregory Demirjian and James Demirjian; Davide Erro, Class of 1991; William Suddaby; Stark and Michael Ward; the Department of Classics, Princeton University; the Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Exhibitions Fund; Paul and Victoria Hasse; Fortuna Fine Arts; Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Rosen; and several anonymous donors. Further support has been made possible by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and by the Partners and Friends of the Princeton University Art Museum. 

Additional generous support for the publication has been provided by the Barr Ferree Foundation Fund for Publications, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Publications Fund; and European Dynamics Luxembourg SA.