The Berlin Painter was the name given by Sir John Davidson Beazley (1885-1970) to an otherwise anonymous Athenian vase-painter, active in the first quarter of the fifth century B.C., whose hand he recognized in nearly 300 complete and fragmentary vases in public and private collections around the world. Since Beazley’s first published identification of the Berlin Painter in 1911, the oeuvre of this still-anonymous Athenian draughtsman has grown to nearly 30 works, and esteem for his elegant, approachable style has never lessened.
This exhibition will feature approximately 100 vessels and statuettes of the early fifth century, including over 60 of the finest vases attributed to the Berlin Painter, representing a full range of subjects, sacred and profane. Collectively these works open a window into a world 2,500 years distant and remind us of the enduring importance of archaeology and of sustained visual analysis.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, The Berlin Painter and His World: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century B.C., is a lavishly illustrated publication featuring nine essays by leading scholars who explore the artist’s work, milieu, influence, and legacy, as well as the role of connoisseurship in art-historical scholarship. With an updated catalogue raisonné that includes many newly attributed works, it is the definitive book on this seminal artist. The artist’s long career extended from about 500 B.C. well into the 460s, and his elegant renderings of daily life and mythological stories offer invaluable insight into the social, political, religious, and artistic workings of early 5th-century Athens.