Published: July 4, 2000
ATLANTA, GA. – On June 12, the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University acquired two important Greek vases at a Christie’s Ancient Greek Vases auction in New York City. Because of the recent $10 million gift by Michael and Thalia Carlos, specifically designated for the acquisition of ancient Greek art, the museum has been able to add significant pieces to its growing collection. Announced in January 2000, the gift has thus far enabled the museum to add 15 pieces to its ancient Greek collection.
The second-highest-selling lot of the Christie’s sale, a calyx krater, or vessel for mixing wine and water at ancient Greek drinking parties, was acquired by the Carlos for $1,051,000 (the top lot, an attic red-figured kylix attributed to Douris as painter, was purchased by The Kendall Musem of Art, Fort Worth, Tex., for $1,766,000).
The Carlos vase features the myth of the death of Aktaion, a Greek hunter who was transformed into a stag after spying on the goddess Artemis at her bath. In the scene, Aktaion’s own dogs attack him as he begins to sprout horns and his ears metamorphose into those of a deer. Artemis stands to the left, and the winged goddess Hekate (all the figures are identified by inscriptions) encourages the hounds. Aktaion’s companions, at right, flee in fright.
Painted by an anonymous artist known today as the Dinos Painter, the krater is one of the masterworks of fifth century BC vase painting and becomes the museum’s most significant ancient Greek object.
“We are delighted,” commented Bonna Wescoat, the museum’s curator of classical art. “The krater is a grand addition of the finest quality, and represents the best of what we seek as a university museum – objects that are not only beautiful works of art, but have important educational value for scholars, students and visitors.”
The Carlos Museum also acquired at the sale a rare, colorfully painted Greek vase from Third Century BC Sicily, which depicts a seated bride with two cupids and attendants, for $171,000. All of the vases in the auction were once part of the collection of Dr Elie Borowski, a scholar and connoisseur who began his career as an ancient Near East specialist, but from the 1950s collected Greek vases in addition to other works of ancient art.
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