Recommended By: Brooke Masek, Assistant to the Director and CEO
Why: "Preeminent scholar Sir John Boardman explains how and why vase painters created their pots, how their artistic qualities developed and how their influence spread."
Description: Greek pottery has long fascinated scholars and historians of art. It provides a continuous commentary on all other Greek arts, even sculpture and the scenes figured on the vases can prove to be as subtle and informative as the great works of Greek literature.
Here, John Boardman sketches that history but goes on to explore many other matters that make the study so fruitful. He describes the processes of identifying artists, the methods of making and decorating the vases and the problems in doing so, the life of the potter and conduct of the potters' quarter in Greek towns, and the way in which the wares traded far beyond the borders of the Greek world, from Morocco to Persia, from Russia to the Sudan. Their functions in life, cult, and as messengers of style and subject are also explained. Boardman shows how Greek artists exercised a style of narrative in art that was long influential in the West, and how their pictures reflected not simply on story-telling but on the politics and social order of the day.