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The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller Hardcover – 14 Oct 2013


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The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller + The History of Greek Vases: Potters, Painters and Pictures + Understanding Greek Vases: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques (Looking at)
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Review

'The majority of vases shown in his elegant book are from the British Museum s collection and are superbly photographed'


House and Garden






'eye-catching and entertaining introduction'




The New York Times --http://www.houseandgarden.co.uk/

About the Author

John H. Oakley is Chancellor Professor and Forrest D Murden Jr Professor at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. A classical archaeologist with special interests in Greek vase painting, iconography and Roman sarcophagi, Professor Oakley gained his PhD from Rutgers University, and has written numerous books and articles. He has held professorships at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freigburg, Germany and L'Université Libre de Brussels, Belgium. From 2000 to 2001 he was Visiting Fellow at Princeton University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Vessels and Visuals of the Ancient Greeks 28 Jan 2014
By R. Hardy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Chances are if you have ever bought an edition of an ancient Greek text, like the _Odyssey_, the cover had a picture of heroes on it taken from a Greek vase, with figures in the familiar outline style in flat red and black. These paintings are the way we visualize an entire and influential culture. If you want a primer to help you take a more educated look at these vases, here is _The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller_ (J. Paul Getty Museum) by John H. Oakley. The author is a professor of classical studies and has written before on specialized aspects of the vases. Here, however, he presents a beautifully illustrated book of large format, written as an introduction for those of us who know little about his area of expertise. Readers are guaranteed to know lots more after studying these illustrations and the descriptive texts and explanations which accompany them. The vases are mostly from the Getty Museum and the British Museum, and Oakley has examined the objects not just as canvasses for the pictures, but also their shapes and functions within Greek homes and society. He then examines what the paintings can tell us about ancient Greek divinities, heroes, and daily life.

The vessels depicted here had decoration for show, and the show was because the vessels did more than just hold wine or food. Some were used for the ritual drinking of wine, or in the drinking parties known as symposia, or in feasts like those for weddings, or as votive or funerary gifts. One chapter here is devoted to pictures of gods and goddesses in the strange Greek pantheon. It isn’t always easy to tell if a figure is an immortal or just an earthly person, because the Greek deities dressed the same way that mortals did, and they busied themselves with the same sorts of striving and naughtiness. Of all the deities, the most frequently depicted is Dionysos, the god of wine; it wasn’t that he was the most important of the gods, but he happened to be a good theme for drinking vessels. Oakley’s final chapters have to do with illustrations not of gods or heroes but of ordinary people. There are charming pictures of an infant learning to walk, or a baby in a potty stool, for instance, and a trio of youths playing with animal knucklebones as our children play with marbles. Men in an olive orchard beat the upper branches of the trees to bring down the fruits, as they do now. Women might be shown making music or dancing, but wifely chores were generally not shown, even on vessels that were for domestic duties. There are intimate pictures of couples or groups making love, often rendered with surprising delicacy and feeling of the moment. A picture of comic actors shows that they not only wore exaggerated masks, but wore large phalluses as part of the fun. In the more realistic scenes of intimacy between men and women, however, the erections are small, reflecting the Greek ideal, opposite to our own, that smaller is better.

_The Greek Vase_ will serve as an attractive coffee-table book full of illustrations that would be fun just to leaf through. The text, however, and the useful categorization of the types of pictures allow readers to appreciate the artwork anew. It is always good to be reminded how strange were the ways of people in different times and different places, and also how much like ourselves they were.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Glory That Was Greece 6 Nov 2013
By Arnold Asrelsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this hoping the illustrations would do the subject justice. The book outdid my fondest hopes. The pictures in full color are magnificent. Even without the Amazon discount the book is a bargain. Get one before they are all gone.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Greek Vases 7 Mar 2014
By Dr.John David Abell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating review of the various types, potters and painters. It is a shame that the proof reading is so poor and the grammatical mistakes so irritating. For example, confusion between illusion and allusion ought not to occur in a publication of this erudition.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Expert evaluation of artistic and craftsmanship of the Greek vase 22 Dec 2013
By Robert A. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Greek vases from 1500 BC to 200-400 AD were a vast part of the trade area centered in Athens and this review and examination of the trade and art form provides an experts evaluation of the artistic quality and superb craftsmanship.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great Introduction 29 Jan 2014
By lapidaryblue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I remember my junior year abroad (many decades ago) in Denmark walking in one of the art museums in Copenhagen and taking notes on the various styles of Greek vases. I've loved them ever since and finally decided to get a good general introduction. This is exactly the ticket: the who, what, where, when and styles of many Greek vases. Beautiful photos and a very informative text. Not too academic and not too long. Highly recommended!
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