Exciting and provocative in its argument, this book challenges the widely held view that Greek pottery vases were objects of great value in antiquity, commissioned by rich patrons from the greatest artists of the day. Instead, they are shown to have been simply low cost versions of tableware originally made in silver and gold. This book demonstrates how Greek pottery first came to be regarded as a high value commodity in the eighteenth century thanks to clever, if not fraudulent, sales techniques; it examines the primary sources, both literary and epigraphic, to find what materials the ancients did consider to be important; and it explores the ways in which work in gold and silver influenced painted pottery.
The continuing demand for all Richard Hattatt's books on brooches justifies another reprint. This is his second volume with drawings and descriptions of over 500 broochs, mostly from Roman Britain. When first published most of the trade copies were softback; this reprint is cased, matching the format of his other volumes.
In the Hellenistic period, the Greek world enjoyed great prosperity after Alexander the Great's conquest of the Persian Empire made vast resources of gold available for the first time. The various royal courts of Alexander's successors, including the Ptolemies in Egypt, comprised a wealthy clientele with a taste for luxury.
The group of gold jewelry discussed here-including earrings, finger rings, bracelets, beads, and a hairnet-consists of seventeen spectacular pieces from the Getty Museum. The author takes us on a journey through three centuries, beginning about B.C. 350, from the empire-building Alexander to the beguilingly ambitious Kleopatra VII. This sweep through the turbulent history of the eastern Mediterranean gives a picture of the Greek-Egyptian blending of religion and art. The author demonstrates how the symbolism of dynastic power plays a central role in the interpretation of each object and in understanding the assemblage as a whole. Discussing their style, iconography, and craftsmanship, he convincingly places the jewelry in late third-century-B.C. Ptolemaic Egypt and argues for the original owner's royal connections.
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