Stories and myths from the Roman Empire, £8.99
Height: 27.900 cm
GR 1772.3-20.6 (Vase B37)
The 'Hunt krater'
Greek, about 575-550
Made in Corinth; found near Capua, Campania, Italy
'The imbecility of art in its infancy'
This large Corinthian
The main illustration is of a boar hunt with the names of six of the hunters written in Greek. Previously scholars had believed that vases like this were made by the Etruscans, an early group of inhabitants of Italy. But the Greek writing on this example led Hamilton and d'Hancarville, who catalogued Hamilton's collection, to think that they were made by Greek artisans.
D'Hancarville considered it one of the earliest surviving examples of ancient painting, saying that it was close to 'the imbecility of art in its infancy'. He dated it to before 658 BC and believed that it was made by Greek workers who had set up a workshop at Capua in Italy. This followed the thinking of contemporary scholars such as Johann Winckelmann (1717-68), who had also begun to argue that these vases were made by Greeks.
We now know that these vases were imported to Italy from Greece. This example came to Italy from Corinth.
K. Sloan (ed.), Enlightenment. Discovering the (London, The British Museum Press, 2003)
I. Jenkins and K. Sloan, Vases and Volcanoes: Sir Willi (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)
L. Burn, 'Sir William Hamilton and the Greekness of Greek Vases', Journal of the History of Coll, 9 no. 2 (1997), pp. 241-252