Friday, December 11, 2009

Thomas Hoving, January 15, 1931-yesterday

Do you recognize this:



It's the Euphronios Krater. Acquired, completely illegally, as it turned out, by at-the-time Metropolitan Museum director Thomas Hoving. Who is now dead.

Makes you wonder if Picasso was thinking about it when he painted Guernica...



Almost certainly not, but they both have that sort of rollicking, horizontal, almost caligraphic read. I should also add that I have taken one of the greatest paintings in history (Guernica) and sepia-toned it to enhance my lame thesis. For this, I profoundly apologize.

I remember reading "Making the Mummies Dance" when it came out in the '90s. It was a sort of memoir about the head of the Met wrapped around the story of nabbing this krater. It was good clean fun. Wikipedia, in its imperfect majesty, offers this:
The Euphronios krater (or Sarpedon krater) is an ancient Greek terra cotta krater, a bowl used for mixing wine with water. Created around the year 515 BC, it is the only complete example of the surviving 27 vases painted by the renowned Euphronios and is considered one of the finest Greek vase artifacts in existence. Part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1972 to 2008, the vase was repatriated to Italy under an agreement negotiated in February 2006.
And that's all you need to know about that.

The back looks like this:



It has a lovely glow, doesn't it?

Dead at 78--Thomas Hoving.

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