„Ornaments – Animals – People“The new CVA project at the KHM in Vienna (Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum KHM Volume 6: Attic Geometric, Protoattic and Attic Black-Figured Vases Volume 1)
Project management: Dr. Alfred Bernhard-Walcher
Project assistant: Dr. Bettina Kratzmüller
Cooperation partner: IKAnt (ÖAW); DI Hubert Mara (Interdisciplinary Centre of Scientific Computing at the University of Heidelberg, http://www.iwr.uni-heidelberg.de; Institute of Pattern Recognition and Image Processing (PRIP) at the University of Technology in Vienna / PRIP, http://www.prip.tuwien.ac.at)
Financing: FWF (Projekt-Nr. P21171-G19), KHM From December 1st 2008, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (KHM) hosts a new FWF-project (Nr. P21171-G19) with the aim of preparing Attic geometric, Protoattic and Attic black-figured vases of the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities for a publication within the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (CVA KHM Vienna, Volume 6). An extensive scientific description and analysis - 70% of nearly a hundred vessels have not yet been published - is ensued by a review of the materials through photographic documentation. Furthermore, employees of the University of Heidelberg (Interdisciplinary Centre of Scientific Computing with the collaboration of the Institute of Pattern Recognition and Image Processing (PRIP) at the University of Technology in Vienna) conduct an elaborate recording of the available measurements with the aid of 3D-scanning under the guidance of DI Hubert Mara (cf. FWF-Projekt Nr. P18213; Project management: Dr. Claudia Lang-Auinger, Dr. Alfred Bernhard-Walcher). Among the chronologically most ancient vases - the Attic protogeometric and geometric vessels - there are various shapes/forms of vases. Two protogeometric Lekythoi of the 10th century B.C. are the earliest examples. The vessels of the geometric period present us with a broad repertoire of forms (from Pyxis across Kalathos to Amphora, with jugs as the largest group) and therefore cover a representative time spectrum (FG II 875/50 B.C. until SG IIb 720/700 B.C.). Among mainly ornamental decorations some of the vessels feature figurative illustrations - amongst others warriors, birds, horses - plastic appliqués (snake) or figurative lid handles (horse, bird). Attic black-figured and various amphora-shaped vessels form the largest group of the project. When John D. Beazley performed an autopsy of the collections in the KHM in 1910, 1924 and 1938, he classed only about a third of these vases with a specific workshop and painters. A Lekane and a Loutrophoros hydria date from the late Protoattic or early black-figured period and are typical examples of the preference of some workshops for animals and hybrid beings as well as the use of ornamental backdrop paintings. Furthermore on display are the leading groups and workshops of the following time period, from the early 6th century B.C. to the late period of black-figured vase painting of the first half of the 5th century B.C. (amongst others an amphora of a horse's head, painter of Louvre F6, painter of group E, Nikosthenic amphoras, a Leagros group, gela painter, Diosphos painter).
Iconographically, the illustrations show an outstanding creative variety. They portray various deities, heroes and heroines in armed conflicts and at specific events. The daily lives of women and men - often warriors, athletes or musicians - provided the artists with realistic scenes. Other images show the education of boys or lamentations of the dead. These day-to-day as well as mythological illustrations are part of the customary and Attic spectrum of representational possibilities. The primary focus of the cooperation between restorers (Mag. Angelika Kathrein, Mag. Bettina Vak) and archaeologists is on the detailed documentation of the production process, particularly of the - if existent - master drawings and carvings. This remains something most desirable in previous research on Attic black-figured ceramics since, as a result of the manufacturing technique, most master drawings have been covered by subsequent painting. One can identify various kinds of master drawings and carvings in the vessels of the KHM. Flat lines, which were incised into the clay surface or laid on with clay slurry, served as rough predefinitions for the individual figures or parts of the body. In addition, very fine carved lines - sketches for the ultimate carving of details - can be retraced directly on the black surfaces of the figures.