Funerary Vessel (detail), South Italian, from Apulia, about 350 B.C. Terracotta red-figured volute krater associated with the Iliupersis Painter. Courtesy of Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Dangerous Perfection: Funerary Vases from Southern Italy


Museum, Floor 2

Thirteen elaborately decorated Apulian vases provide a rich opportunity to examine the funerary customs of peoples native to southern Italy and the ways they used Greek myth to comprehend death and the afterlife. Displayed following a six-year conservation project at the Antikensammlung Berlin and the Getty Villa, these monumental vessels also reveal the hand of Raffaele Gargiulo, one of the leading restorers of nineteenth-century Naples. His work exemplifies what one concerned antiquarian described as "dangerous perfection," and the vases on view offer a window into the ongoing debate concerning the degree to which ancient artworks should be repaired and repainted.

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