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'Dangerous Perfection: Ancient Funerary Vases from Apulia' at the Altes Museum, Berlin


The focal point of Dangerous Perfection – Ancient Funerary Vases from Apulia is a group of 13 large, elaborately decorated vases from Ceglie del Campo near Bari in Apulia (southern Italy). As grave goods, they provide insight into the funerary customs of the indigenous population's upper classes 2,500 years ago. The vessels are painted with a variety of scenes from Greek mythology, from sudden death in battle and war to a life of ease in Dionysian pastures.

'Dangerous Perfection: Ancient Funerary Vases from Apulia' at the Altes Museum, Berlin
Funerary Vessel (detail), South Italian, from Apulia, about 350 B.C., terracotta red-figured volute krater
associated with the Iliupersis Painter [Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum]
The vases are held in the Collection of Antiquities of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Damaged during the war and postwar period, they are now being exhibited again thanks to a six-year collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The project included careful conservation of the vessels – some in Los Angeles, others in Berlin – as well as research into the modern history of the group, which joined the holdings of the Berlin museums in 1828.

'Dangerous Perfection: Ancient Funerary Vases from Apulia' at the Altes Museum, Berlin
Assemblage of 13 funerary vessels found at Ceglie del Campo, near Bari in Apulia, Italy 
[Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum [Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum]
In addition to offering exciting archaeological insights, the exhibition also sheds light on the first restoration treatment of the vases in the workshop of Raffaele Gargiulo, a Neapolitan restorer who added missing scenes with such mastery that contemporaries spoke of a “dangerous perfection" in his style: Gargiulo's additions could no longer be distinguished from the ancient originals.

'Dangerous Perfection: Ancient Funerary Vases from Apulia' at the Altes Museum, Berlin
Funerary Vessel (detail), South Italian, from Apulia, 350-325 B.C., terracotta red-figured amphora attributed 
to the Darius Painter (the Hecuba Sub-Group) [Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum]
The exhibition was shown at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from November 19, 2014 to May 11, 2015.

Dangerous Perfection – Ancient Funerary Vases from Apulia at the Altes Museum in Berlin runs until 18 June 2017.

Source: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin [June 30, 2016]
TANN

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