Briefly: The Ancient Collection
Joslyn Art Museum’s collection of antiquities includes objects from Egypt, Greece, and Rome, among them a portrait bust of the Egyptian princess Amenirdas I, a Roman bust of Augustus re-carved from an earlier portrait of Nero, and a respected group of Greek pottery, including an Attic Black-Figure Amphora attributed to The Omaha Painter, and an Italo-Corinthian Olpe attributed to The Joslyn Painter.
Below are highlights selected from Joslyn's ancient collection.
Artist Unknown (Egyptian, Late Period, 8th century B.C),
Amenirdas I, the Divine Consort
, ca. 700 B.C., XXV Dynasty,
granite, 25 ¼ in. high
Museum Purchase, 1953.80
In her role as “God’s Wife” of the Egyptian state god, Amun, Amenirdas I not only had supreme religious authority but also, like a sovereign, ruled Upper and Lower Egypt. Appropriately, she is here depicted with traditional pharaonic attributes: a ceremonial wig with a crown of hooded cobra heads and what seems to be a pharaoh’s flail (only its handle survives). Amenirdas was the daughter of the Kushite conqueror of Egypt, King Kashta. Her Nubian heritage is revealed in her broadened facial features and the “Kushite fold,” a line curving from the nostrils to the corners of the mouth and emphasizing the cheekbones.
The Omaha Painter (attributed (Greek, 6th century B.C.),
Attic Black-Figure Ovoid Neck-Amphora
, ca. 570 B.C.,
clay, 15 inches high
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Woods, Jr, 1963.480
This amphora, produced in Athens during the Archaic-Classical Period (600–400 B.C.), is the centerpiece of Joslyn’s collection of Greek pottery. The image depicts a Greek warrior slaying an Amazon, a mythical race of women who fought as men, distinguished here from the male warriors by the contrasting pale color of their skin. The opposite side illustrates a symposium, where men gathered to drink, debate, or celebrate a special occasion. As the names of vase painters are not known, identities are assigned based on the style or location of a key work. The painter of this amphora was identified and named the "Omaha Painter" by the scholar Dietrich von Bothmer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the only other vase attributed to the Omaha Painter is in the collection of the Louvre in Paris.
The Affecter (attributed to) (Greek, 6th century B.C.),
Attic Black-Figure Hydria
, ca. 530 B.C.,
terra cotta, 17 ½ in.; 44.45 cm high
Museum purchase, 1953.255
Vases such as this contribute much to our knowledge about ancient Greek culture, as most pots were made for use in daily life to fulfill domestic needs. The term "hydria" comes from the Greek word hudor, or water, and suggests that this piece was used to hold and carry water.
The decorator of this hydria has been identified as The Affecter, who painted over a hundred known pieces. Here the artist's attention to detail is apparent in the added color and lively, angular juxtaposition of the shoulder panel images, as well as in the elaborate treatment of the horses and larger figures on the main panel.