Twice rescued

Фотография до реставрации Фотография после реставрации

Attic black–glazed calyx–krater circled with ivy wreath

  • Attica, early 3rd c. BC.
  • Inv. АВ 3452
  • Clay, varnish, paint
  • H. 56,7 см.
  • Conservator: J. Ustinova, 2010

Painted vases with complex subjects disappeared by the end of the 4th century BC, when the independent Ellada fell. After that they existed for about a century, but the paintings became modest and unpretentious. However, in some examples the décor reaches perfection and elegance, as shown by this large black lacquered krater - a vessel for men's night feasts -symposiums.

In the centre of the body the krater is decorated with an ivy branch with carved leaves and twisted tendrils - the symbol of the grape god Dionysus, in honour of whom mysteries were held all over Greece, Asia Minor and Italy - a lifetime initiation to the death of the god to gain hope for future revival. The painting is made with white paint and diluted varnish and blends well with the narrow belt of sheep on the rim; the combination of the shiny surface of the vase with the matte painting creates a peculiar effect. Modesty and minimalism of the decor emphasizes the monumental appearance and expressive form of the feast vase.


The krater is glued together from numerous fragments (over 60), the losses were filled and tinted. The colour is partially altered by the high temperature. There are chips and surface damages.