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

Greek, Attic, attributed to the Berlin Painter, Greek, Attic, fl. ca. 500-ca. 460 B.C.Red-figure Amphora of Type A: A, Athena; B, Herakles, ca. 500–490 B.C. Ceramic, 67.4 × 79 × diam. 42.8 cm. Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig (BS 456)

The Berlin Painter and His World is a celebration of ancient Greece and of the ideals of reason, proportion, and human dignity that are its legacy. Focusing on the extraordinary work of a single anonymous master artisan, the exhibition provides a window onto ancient Athenian society at a time of economic growth and cultural flourishing through the art of vase-painting, the largest body of pictorial imagery to have survived from antiquity. Depictions of myths, cult, and daily life on red-figure vases posit questions on love and war, life and death, that still resonate today.

Though the artist’s elegant style has long been appreciated, this is the first exhibition devoted to the Berlin Painter. The exhibition features eighty-four vessels and statuettes of the early fifth century B.C., gathered from museums and private collections around the globe, and examines the elements of this artist’s style that allow the attribution of objects to his hand while affording unique insights into life 2,500 years ago.

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Read the exhibition review by Edward Rothstein for the Wall Street Journal.

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 and Andrew Spindler-Roesle; 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.