The project entails the restoration of 33 figurative vases of Athenian production, all exhibited in the E – F – H – I display cases in the room dedicated to the Astarita Collection. The Astarita Collection began in 1913 thanks to the work of expert connoisseur Mario Astarita. In 1967, Astarita gifted his massed collection to Pope Paul VI for the Vatican Museums. The collection is comprised mainly of Attic pottery, ceramics of Corinthian, Eastern-Greek, Laconian, and Euboean manufacture, and many Etruscan pieces.
The vases included in this project are a review of the masters who originated the red-figure technique. This includes the example of Oltos, a pioneer who, on the same vessel, experimented with both the innovative red-figure and the more traditional black-figure technique around 520 B.C. He integrated mythological representations of the Centaurs (black figures) and the Amazons (red figures), as well as images of men in the gymnasium practicing discus throwing, and a military bugler.
The painting on this selection of vases illustrates the transition of Greek figural representation from the Archaic to the Early and High Classical styles. Beyond their stylistic aspects, these objects express various facets of Greek life and culture. The viewer finds themselves in both the worlds of mythology, with the scene of Dionysius’s solemn procession by the Group of Vienna 1104 (450-440 B.C.), and of daily life, with the rare depiction of a young man reading by the Eucharides Painter (ca. 490 B.C.), and that of a symposium by the Painter of Tarquinia (460-450 B.C.).