A fine and decorative pair Grand Tour bronze vases of ancient Greek volute krater form,
France, early 19th century.
Why we like them
Their pure, unembellished form perfectly embodies aesthetic values of ancient Greeks.
This shape was introduced in the late 6th century B.C. and was favoured by significant artists who worked in terracotta and in bronze. The earliest example in bronze belongs to the late 5th century B.C. and was found in a tomb in Agrigento. A characteristic of volute-krater handles is the fine articulation of the volute itself and of the lower terminals where they rested on the shoulder of the vase. Here, as in most metal examples, they assume the form of swans’ heads. A pair of handles of this design is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A complete example (found in Ruvo) of almost identical form is in Naples Archeological Museum (inv. 73143). Other similar examples include the Vaste krater, now in Boston Museum of Fine Arts (inv. 99483), and a krater that is currently in the George Ortiz collection.