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The History of Greek Vases

Potters, Painters and Pictures

John Boardman


The history of Greek vases as told by Sir John Boardman, known and respected the world over as the outstanding authority on classical archaeology and art


In no other medium do we come closer to the visual experience of the ancient Greeks than through their superb pottery: the subject is a central one to classical archaeology and art.

John Boardman explores the vases’ functions in Greek life and culture, and as messengers of style and subject. He relates the processes of identifying artists, the methods of making and decorating the vases, the artists’ lives and conduct in the potters' quarter in Greek towns, and the ways in which their wares were traded far beyond the borders of the Greek world.

The scenes on the vases reflected not simply on story-telling, but on the politics and social order of the day; moreover, they exercised a style of narrative in art that was to resonate throughout Western culture for centuries to come.

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'Masterful … lively, comprehensive and well illustrated'
Journal of Classics Teaching

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 25.5 x 18.3 cm

Extent: 320 pp

Illustrations: 358

Publication date: 21 January 2008

ISBN: 9780500285930

Contents List

1. A History of Greek Vases • 2. Connoisseurship • 3. Potters and Painters • 4. Trade • 5. Pictures and People I • 6. Pictures and People II 7. Greek Vases in Use • 8. Pottery and Other Arts • 9. Tricks of the Trade • 10. Tools of the Study

About the Author

Sir John Boardman was born in 1927, and educated at Chigwell School and Magdalene College, Cambridge. He spent several years in Greece, three of them as Assistant Director of the British School of Archaeology at Athens, and he has excavated in Smyrna, Crete, Chios and Libya. For four years he was an Assistant Keeper in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and he subsequently became Reader in Classical Archaeology and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He is now Lincoln Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and Art in Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy, from whom he received the Kenyon Medal in 1995. He was awarded the Onassis Prize for Humanities in 2009. Professor Boardman has written widely on the art and archaeology of Ancient Greece.