ElAnt v1n4 - MUSEUMS And ETHICS - J. Paul Getty Museum - Recent Acquisitions and Lectures

Volume 1, Number 4
September 1993


Kenneth Hamma,
Antiquities Department,
J. Paul Getty Museum,

I repeat myself from the first of these columns ( EA 1,2- July 1993):
If other museums in the US and Canada would like to participate this might evolve into a monthly bulletin board for current events in Greek and Roman studies. I would welcome contributions to such a column from museums or with a broader scope on current activities - to cover symposia, conferences and the like - for any scholarly institutions. Because the speed with which these reports appear is part of their appeal, please communicate contributions or questions to me at he above e- address. These will then appear regularly in Electronic Antiquity .

Recent Acquisitions

Attic red-figure fragment which joins the 'Tekmessa Cup' (86.AE.286) by the Brygos Painter; the interior shows Tekmessa covering the dead body of Ajax. The fragment completes a shoulder of Odysseus (?) in an exterior scene of Odysseus and Ajax arguing over the arms of Achilles. The cup is published most recently: M. Robertson, THE ART OF VASE PAINTING IN CLASSICAL ATHENS (1992), p. 95, fig. 88 where in the index of illustrations, p. 334, it is incorrectly assigned the acquisition number 81.AE.26.

A gift of Dietrich von Bothmer.

Gold funerary wreath with blue and green glass paste. Greek, late fourth century BC. Height 12 cm (5 in); Width 23 cm (9 in); Depth 27 cm (10 5/8 in).

The circlet of this funerary wreath is made of two hollow gold tubes fashioned in the shape of twigs that are hinged at the front by means of a 'Herakles' knot surrounded by delicate curling tendrils. The terminals at the back represent the cut ends of twigs, the cambium layers carefully rendered in repouss. The overlapping ends are bound together by two lengths of gold wire. Rising from the circlet is a lush array of gold leaves and flowers, some embellished with blue and green glass paste. The flowers are made of separate parts: a hemisphere forms the sepal; the corolla, or clusters of petals are cut from thin sheets of gold; discs with two different types of repouss decoration form the center of each blossom; and the filaments are fine gold wires, some tipped with beads of glass paste.

The wreath is mostly intact and uncrushed, although some of the fine gold threads onto which the parts of the flowers were threaded have been broken, leaving a number of sepals, petals and filaments detached.

The naturalism that characterises fourth-century sculpture and painting finds expression here, where the rendering is so lifelike that one is able to identify the leaves and some of the blossoms as bell flowers intermingled with myrtle, apple and pear blossoms, plants that grew profusely in northern Greece. This wreath's closest relative is the beautiful wreath found in the antechamber of a royal tomb at Vergina. Although the Vergina wreath is comprised of golden myrtle leaves and berries, the discs with repouss filaments within the flowers are identical to those on this wreath.


Seminars and Lectures (updating the listing in EA 1,2 - July 1993) - dates and times subject to change


October 6
Carmen Arnold-Biucchi, 'Art and War in Fifth Century Italy through the Coins'

October 14
Caroline Elam, 'Battista della Paola: a Dealer in Antiquities and Works of Art for Francois I'

Kenneth Hamma

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright remains with authors, but due reference should be made to this journal if any part of the above is later published elsewhere.

Electronic Antiquity Vol. 1 Issue 3 - August 1993
edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington
ISSN 1320-3606