The Art of Magna Graecia
On loan from the Koumantatakis Family, Beyond Attica: Art of Magna Graecia is an extraordinary collection of vases – from Athenian black-figure to later red-figure ware from south Italy. Discover the rich variety of pottery techniques and styles of decoration used in the ancient Greek world.
Beyond Attica is a long-term exhibition and will run until 2022.
SOUTH ITALIAN POTTERY
Until the fifth century BCE South Italian settlements imported their pottery from Corinth and Athens. By the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BCE, Athenian pot production and trade had declined and cities in South Italy began to manufacture pottery locally. The five regions in South Italy: Lucania, Apulia, Campania, Paestum and Sicily produced significant amounts of pottery between 440 and 300 BCE. While these areas were both politically independent and culturally unique regions of the Greek world, they nevertheless drew influence from Athenian pottery shape, design, and iconography. Working with these Attic models, South Italian painters and potters developed their own styles and shapes - distinguishing them from their counterparts in mainland Greece.
DECLINE AND LEGACY
300 BCE was the beginning of a troubled period in South Italy and Sicily which eventually came under Roman domination, effectively ceasing pot manufacture of this type in South Italy. Tarentum was the last free Greek city until its conquest by Rome in 272 BCE when pottery production in Magna Graecia finally ended. Despite this the ancient Greek and South Italian artists left behind an enduring legacy on art in the western world. Much of what we in the West view as beautiful today is a result of the lingering effect of archetypal Greek beauty on modern sensibilities.