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Beyond Attica: Art of Magna Graecia

Last Thursday night saw the Hellenic Museum launch the new exhibition Beyond Attica: Art of Magna Graecia.

The exhibition showcases a unique collection of South Italian red-figure vases dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.

The collection of 19 decorated vases are on loan from the Koumantatakis family.

The family attended the opening night, Mr Koumantatakis saying he hoped that the “next generation of young people from both within the Greek community and without, discover the wonders of Greek history and culture.”

Dr Gillian Shepherd, director of the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies also spoke at the event. Dr Shepherd commented that the exhibition was a wonderful opportunity both scholars, students and the public to see such wonderful pieces from a private collection.

This sentiment was echoed by the exhibition curator, Sarah Craig, who said “each time I look at this collection, I am struck anew by the degree of expertise it took to create such elaborate vases. We are extraordinarily lucky to be able to show this collection as a whole to the public for the first time.”

The event was also attended by the Consul General of Greece, Dimitrios Michalopoulos who officially launched the exhibition.

The vases are presented against a black backdrop which brings out their distinctive and elaborate decorative features.

Scenes of daily life, mythology and Greek tragedy, illustrates the fondness of the South Italian population for Greek theatre, religious festivals and costume.
One vase in particular features a well-executed scene from the Oedipus tragedy.

The vase was mentioned by Dr Shepherd as being significant, as it reveals the fondness of the South Italian populations for Greek tragedy.

Also mentioned by Dr Shepherd was the prominent representation of women on the vases.

In contrast with their Attic made contemporaries, women often feature front and centre on South Italian red-figure vase wear participating in a variety of activities.

The exhibition is open 7 days a week 10-4.

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