The Seasons Vase

The Seasons Vase

The "Vase des Saisons" is the name given by Jean de Foville to a cameo glass bottle in the Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. (Figs. A, B, C "Alabastron en verre camée" (Camée.623)). The object may be described as follows:

H. (as restored) 16.5 cm.
Opaque white over translucent deep blue glass. Cast or blown, cased, cut, engraved, ground, and polished.

Bottle. Narrow cylindrical neck; flat shoulder; slender body with straight, slightly flaring side; tapering base, rounded at bottom. Immediately below shoulder, three horizontal lathe-cut grooves. Below these, three zones of cameo-cut ornament on upper central, and lower parts of body. On upper part, three bucrania linked by garlands of fruits and flowers, which include roses, apples, pears, and pomegranates. On central part, three female figures standing on base-line and facing right, one below each bucranium: (A) with hair drawn up on top of head and tied with ribbon, wearing long tunic but with right shoulder uncovered, holding with both hands cloth or mantle containing flowers and fruits; (B) also with hair drawn back, wearing diadem and long tunic that flutters in breeze, holding in left hand ears of corn and poppies; (C) with head turned back to look at figure B, again wearing long tunic, carrying in raised left hand shallow basket containing grapes and with right hand greeting kid that stands on hind legs, leaning against her. On lower part, flowered scroll and acanthus-like bud between horizontal bands, upper of which is base-line of zone with figures.

Broken and repaired. Rim, most of neck, and two small areas in upper part of body restored. Cleaned, but traces of weathering survive between shoulder and uppermost band of ornament. Mounted on hollow foot of yellow metal covered with deep blue and white enamel.1

Regardless of the age of the object, examination leads to the following observations about the production of the blank and the carving of the ornament. First, the blank. It is widely held that many cameo glass vessels were made first by casting or blowing a cup-shaped object, which became the overlay; next by placing a gob of glass of a different color inside it; and finally by inflating the two layers together.2 In the case of the Seasons Vase, this procedure is entirely plausible. The overlay contains numerous elongated bubbles, which slope steeply downward from right to left, suggesting that the shape of the opaque white glass was modified by inflation while the gaffer twirled it on the end of the blowpipe. If this is really what happened, the blue glass can have been formed only by inflation inside an opaque white cup—a supposition supported (but not proved) by the thinness of the wall.

Secondly, the carving. This is exquisite. Apart from its quality, however the most striking feature is the extent to which the blue glass has been carved to form a background for the more prominent ornament in white. Thus, in the uppermost zone, each garland has a row of white fruits with blue fruits and flowers above and below them; in the central zone, diaphanous drapery is blue, as is the left leg of figure A; in the bottom zone, the acanthus between figures B and C is entirely blue. I shall return to this feature in the discussion.

The Question of Authenticity

The Seasons Vase was first published in 1897 by Ernest Babelon, who described it as a modern imitation of an ancient cameo glass such as the Portland Vase or the amphora in the Museo Nazionale, Naples.3 Seven years later he revised his opinion and concluded that the object is ancient.4 This conclusion was reinforced in 1914 by de Foville, who compared the ornament on the vase with stucco from the Casa della Farnesina in Rome and claimed that the vase is "of the century of Augustus.5 The damage, however had been done. Apart from an illustration (but neither description nor discussion) in Eisen's Glass,6 the Seasons Vase disappeared from the literature for more than 40 years. It surfaced briefly in 1957, when Erika Simon dismissed it as modern.7

The rehabilitation of the Seasons Vase began in 1982. Referring to an unpublished report by Jean Pierre Catry, Sidney M. Goldstein remarked, correctly, that "the material reopens the question of the antiquity of the [object].8 The following year, Goldstein reviewed the evidence at the Congress of the International Association for the History of Glass, held at Nancy, and concluded that the vase is ancient; his argument, which did not appear in the Nancy Annales, is published in the Appendix. More recently, Evelyne Veljovic described the object as Alexandrian and of the first or second century B.C.9 Last year, Marie-Louise Vollenweider suggested that the style of the figures indicates a date in the mid-second century B.C. She identified figure B as Ceres. The fact that this figure wears a diadem led Mme Vollenweider to speculate that she might be a queen, in which case figures A and C, who seem to be younger, might be her daughters. She found only one mid-second-century queen who had two daughters: Cleopatra II, wife of Ptolemy VI of Egypt, whose daughters were Cleopatra Thea and Cleopatra III, wife of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. This reinforced her view that the object was made in the mid-second century, probably about 160-150 B.C.10

In general terms, however the question of the age of the Seasons Vase had been resolved even before de Foville republished the object. Babelon changed his mind because he became aware of a drawing in the Cabinet Peiresc, a collection of drawings associated with the celebrated French savant Nicolas Claude de Peiresc (1580-1637). The collection, like the vase itself, is in the Bibliothèque Nationale.11 It consists of two volumes of drawings. Folio 96 in volume 1 contains watercolors of three views of an object that is immediately recognizable as the Seasons Vase.

The contents of the volumes reached the French national collection on separate occasions. Most of the drawings in volume 1, formerly in the collection of Michel de Marolles, entered the Bibliothèque Du Roi in 1667; the drawings in volume 2, formerly at the abbey of Saint-Victor, Paris, entered the Cabinet des Estampes in 1797.12 The collections were bound or rebound in the early 19th century. Volume 2 includes drawings of antiquities from Peiresc's collection. Peiresc is known to have commissioned drawings of notable antiquities, and some of the pages in the volume have his autograph annotations. It is evident, therefore, that volume 2 contains drawings assembled by Peiresc. Similarities between drawings in the two volumes suggest that volume 1 also contains material collected by Peiresc (a suggestion confirmed by his correspondence: see below). Although a few drawings are later additions, folio 96 was already present in 1735, for it is clearly described in an index compiled in that year.13 On the evidence of the index alone, the opinion that the Seasons Vase is modern collapses.14

There is, however, even stronger evidence of its antiquity. In 1910, Joseph Guibert published a selection of drawings from the Cabinet Peiresc. Fortunately for students of ancient glass, but apparently unknown to them at the time, one of the reproductions was folio 96 of volume I. In the text, Guibert drew extensively on Peiresc's voluminous correspondence.15 Two letters, both written in 1633, are crucial. The first was written by Peiresc on February 6 to his agent, Denys Guillaumin. It concerned a letter from a dealer in antiquities named Gault, who had told Peiresc of a "larmoir [tear bottle] in the collection of Monsieur, brother of the King, which is of blue enamel embellished with white cameo figures.”16 Peiresc, who was assembling a corpus of antiquities of all kinds, was anxious to commission a cast, or at least to have the object drawn and measured.

The second letter, written on May 5 to Claude Menestrier, librarian to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, describes the bottle in greater detail: "Furthermore, two other ancient vases have been discovered... [one is a vase belonging to M. Sourdis17]; the other is of blue glass with only three cameo figures in milk-white glass, like [the cameo glass] of Cardinal del Monte, which now belongs to your most eminent patron the cardinal. These three figures are accompanied by many festoons and other embellishments, all [carved] in such an excellent manner that one would not value it less than the preceding [vase] of onyx, even if it were not larger .... It is said that the enamel [vase] came from Rome."18

The description in the letter of May 5 aptly describes the Seasons Vase and is not even remotely applicable to any other ancient cameo glass vessel that is known to have existed. Following Guibert, therefore, I conclude that the Seasons Vase was described by Peiresc in 1633; that it is ancient; that, as reported, it was probably found in or near Rome; and that folio 96 in volume 1 of the Cabinet Peiresc was drawn at Peiresc's request.

Monsieur, the first known owner of the Seasons Vase, was Gaston de France, Duc d'Orléans (1608-1660), brother of King Louis XIII.19 Gaston de France bequeathed his collection to Louis XIV who formally accepted the bequest in 1661. His acceptance was ratified by parliament two years later, and the collection was placed in the Louvre. It has been moved on several occasions. In 1666, the curator of the Louvre was murdered by an intruder, and the collection was transferred to the Bibliothèque du Roi, presumably because it was thought to be more secure. In 1684, the Cabinet des Medailles was moved to Versailles. In the 18th century, it was returned, department by department, to Paris. In 1865, the Cabinet des Medailles was transferred to its present home. Thus, the collection of Gaston de France was moved from Rome to France, and from Paris to Versailles and back again. The Seasons Vase, I assume, moved with it, with the result that in 1897 the vase was in the permanent collection of the Cabinet des Medailles.20

Discussion

Having established that the Seasons Vase is ancient, I shall discuss the subject matter and the place of the object among the other ancient cameo glasses that have survived. On both issues, I disagree with the conclusions proposed by Mme Vollenweider.

First, the place of the Seasons Vase in the corpus of ancient cameo glasses. These fall into two groups: (1) objects normally assigned to the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., usually (but not always) decorated in opaque white on translucent deep blue, and (2) a much smaller group of objects, wholly or mainly of the fourth century A.D., decorated in translucent colors on a colorless background. Not a single cameo glass has been discovered in a context that is earlier than the first century A.D., and today the consensus of opinion holds that the earliest examples are Augustan.21

Obviously, the Seasons Vase belongs to group 1. In the most recent discussion of the group, Donald B. Harden argues that most of the examples were made in Italy between about 25 B.C. and A.D. 50 or 60. The Portland Vase was made near the beginning of this period, and the Naples Amphora near the end. Other cameo glasses, attributed to the period about 25 B.C.-about A.D. 25, include the two-handled cup and the miniature bottle, both in the J. Paul Getty Museum, and two panels from Pompeii that probably came from the House of Fabius Rufus.22 Another object, attributed to the period about A.D. 25-50 or 60, is the Auldjo Jug.23 I have suggested elsewhere that the bottle in the collection of Mr. George Ortiz and (following Erika Simon) the Torrita Vase belongs to the first quarter of the first century A.D.24

The closest parallels in glass for the form of the Seasons Vase are the tall, slender gold-band "alabastra," which, according to David Grose, preceded the broader, biconical gold-band bottles and should be dated to the first century B.C.25 The closest parallels in glass for the style of the ornament occur on the Torrita Vase and the bottle in the Ortiz collection. On the former, a female, tentatively identified as Initiation personified, resembles the figures on the Seasons Vase.26 On the latter, the female in scene A wears her hair in a style similar to that of the figures on the Seasons Vase, and the upper part of the vessel has similar garlands and bucrania.27

Secondly, the subject matter. As de Foville recognized,28 the figures on the Seasons Vase are the Horae, who, in Greek mythology, presided over the changes of the seasons. According to Homer, the Horae were the handmaidens of Zeus. According to Hesiod, they were the daughters of Zeus and Themis: Eunomia, Dike, and Eirene (Order, Justice, and Peace).29 On the Seasons Vase, the female with her basket of early fruits is Spring (figure A), the female with her poppies and ears of corn represents Summer (figure B), and the female with her bunches of grapes is Autumn (figure C).

De Foville compared the Seasons Vase with three objects: an engraved gem of amber glass in the Antiken Museum, Berlin,30 a terra-cotta relief,31 and a marble sarcophagus. The sarcophagus, which is in the Villa Albani, shows the Horae associated with the marriage of Peleus and Thetis. The similarity between the figures on the vase and those on the sarcophagus, which had been published by Montfaucon in 1757 and by Winckelmann 10 years later, was thought in some quarters to confirm the suspicion that the former is a forgery.32

In addition to the examples cited by de Foville, we should note a terra-cotta relief, consisting of two slabs, in the British Museum.33 Each slab is 30.5 cm high and 40.0 cm long. The first (Fig. 5 British Museum D583, left) shows Spring and Summer. "They move to r., Spring in front, holding up a basket of flowers in l. hand, and in r. the fore-legs of a kid, which walks on its hind legs with head thrown back; her hair is waved and covered with a coif, and she wears long chiton leaving r. shoulder bare and himation round lower limbs, hanging in pteryges over l. arm. Summer holds a wreath in r. hand and ears of corn and poppies in l.; her hair is drawn back and tied in a bunch at the roots with a fillet round it; chiton and himation as last." The second slab (Fig. 6 British Museum D584, right) shows Autumn and winter: "They move to r., Autumn in front, looking down and holding up in both hands a large fold of her drapery in which are pomegranates and bunches of grapes; her hair is drawn back in parallel tresses and tied at the roots, with a fillet round it; she wears long chiton and himation as the two preceding. Winter holds a large pine branch over l. shoulder, from the upper end of which hangs a hare tied by the forelegs, to the lower a couple of ducks are tied; in r. hand she holds the l. hind-leg of a boar which she drags along head downwards. She has wavy hair covered with a close cap or coif, and wears shoes, long chiton, and himation over shoulders with a fold hanging over l. arm.”

An even closer parallel occurs on an Arretine crater signed by Gn. Atcius, also in the British Museum. This has been published by Walters, Oxé, and others.34 The crater (Dragendorff form 11), which (without the foot) is 19.1 cm high, is decorated with six figures separated by columns (Figs. 7-9 British Museum L54). Walters described the figures as follows: "(r) Winter moving to r., wearing close cap, boots, long chiton, and thick claena over it; with r. hand she drags a boar by one hind leg, and in l. she holds a shepherd's crook over her shoulder from which hang a hare behind, and a bird in front...(2) Spring, holding in both hands a basket (or fold in her drapery) containing flowers and fruit; she wears a close cap, long chiton slipping off the right shoulder and himation....(3) Summer moves hastily to r., holding wreath in her hand, and in l. a poppy and ears of corn; her hair is knotted at the back, and she wears long chiton with apoptygma slipping off r. shoulder and himation; her drapery floats behind her. (4) Autumn looks downwards to her r.; she wears a coif, chiton and himation; in l. hand she holds up a basket of fruit, and in r. she holds the fore-paws of a kid of which the head hangs down and the hind feet touch the ground....(5) Spring and (6) Summer repeated."

Oxé disagreed about the identity of two of the figures. For him, (3) represents Summer and (2) is Spring. For our purposes, however the identity of the figures is less important than their close resemblance in style as well as substance to the figures on the Seasons Vase, since this suggests strongly that the two objects are contemporary. According to Oxé, the crater was made between 10 and 5 B.C., and even if we reject this "tight" chronology, there is little doubt that it was produced around the turn of the millennium. On stylistic grounds alone, therefore, the Seasons Vase may be attributed to the reign of Augustus.

The case for an Augustan date is supported, quite independently, by the use of extensive cutting into the blue background. While little or no cutting into the background occurs on relatively late cameo glasses, such as the Naples Amphora and the Auldjo Jug, it is cleverly used on two relatively early objects: the Portland Vase (especially on side A) and the bottle in the Ortiz collection. Cutting into the blue background, therefore, seems to be a feature of cameo glasses of the Augustan and Tiberian periods.

Thus, on the bases of technique and subject matter, the Seasons Vase sits comfortably among the finest early Roman cameo glasses. It is, in fact, a small masterpiece of Augustan or Tiberian luxury glass intended not for the dining room (like the Naples Amphora), but for the boudoir (like the bottle in the Ortiz collection).35

Appendix

Appendix by Sidney M. Goldstein

During the research for the cameo glass exhibition at The Corning Museum of Glass in 1982, the authenticity of the Seasons Vase was discussed with various colleagues.36 At the time, none of these scholars had seen the vessel.

Published photographs were not sufficiently detailed for one to form an opinion, and an unpublished monograph by Fahim Kouchakji compared the vessel with the Moore cameo vase now in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery.37 The latter object and several related forms were considered to be Italian reproductions of the ancient Roman technique—reproductions probably manufactured in the late 19th century.38

Given the constraints of time, Jean-Pierre Catry, a Parisian colleague, was asked to examine the Seasons Vase. His report and subsequent transparencies reopened the issue of this vessel's antiquity.39

At the Ninth Congress of the International Association for the History of Glass, held in Nancy in 1983, I presented evidence confirming the antiquity of the Seasons Vase. This evidence was based on my examination of the object. Unable to complete the manuscript for the Annales, I am delighted to have this opportunity to report the results of that examination.

Surface. Although the vase may have been cleaned, the surface remains extensively pitted with deep fissures and "worm-track" weathering, which is completely consistent with ancient glasses. The opaque white glass has weathered more deeply than the translucent blue glass, another characteristic consistent with ancient cameo glasses. This surface is completely different from those achieved by mechanical methods combined with acid etching in the 19th century.

Forming technique. Elongated bubbles, now exposed on the surface by weathering, suggest that the vessel was cased and subsequently blown into a mold. The decorated surface exhibits evidence of both wheel cutting and hand tools. The hypothetical manufacture of the blank and the tooling marks on the surface are consistent with ancient manufacturing techniques.

Parallels. As David Whitehouse has noted, the closest parallels for the form of the vase are not cameo glasses but gold-band alabastra.40 The general shape may be likened to this elongated form, but the proportions of the upper part are related to the later biconical gold-band glass bottles of the first century B.C. In fact, despite the missing rim and neck, and despite the repairs to its base, the Seasons Vase exhibits lathe turning and dimensions that are closer to the squat bottle type than to the more elegant flat rim and elongated slender neck of the alabastra.41


This article was published in the Journal of Glass Studies, Vol. 31 (1989), 16–24.


Acknowledgments. I wish to thank the director of the Bibliothèque Nationale for permission to publish the Seasons Vase and the drawings from the Cabinet Peiresc, and for providing the photographs that appear in the printed version of The Journal of Glass Studies. The other photographs were kindly provided by the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, the British Museum; they appear in the printed version by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.

At the Bibliothèque Nationale, Mme Evelyne Veljovic of the Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques and Mme Marianne Grival of the Départment des Estampes et de Ia Photographic gave me all possible assistance. The "Discussion" section owes much to conversations about early Roman cameo glass with Mr. Kenneth Painter. Prof. Howard Comfort and Ms. Catherine Johns kindly advised me about parallels on Arretine pottery.

1. Jean de Foville, "Le Vase des Saisons," La Revue de l'Art, v. 34, 1913, pp. 377-384. De Foville notes (p. 377) that the vase, "broken into several pieces, was banished to the bottom of a cupboard for most of the last century," and he states (p. 378) that the foot was added when the object was restored. It is plainly visible, however, in the drawing reproduced as figure 4 in the printed version of this article.

2. Donald B. Harden, "Group ll: Cameo Glasses," in Glass of the Caesars, by Donald B. Harden, Hansgerd Hellenkemper, Kenneth Painter, and David Whitehouse, Milan, 1987, pp. 53- 57; David Whitehouse, "Cameo Glass," Proceedings of the Colloquium on Early Roman Glass, London, December 14-15, 1987 (in press).

3. Ernest Babelon, Catalogue des camées antiques et modernes de Ia Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1897, pp. 295-296, no. 623. Babelon describes it as "travail élégant de Ia seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle, dans le goût pompéien."

4. Ernest Babelon, "Murrhina vasa," in Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines, ed. C. Daremberg and E. Saglio, Paris, 1877-1919, v. 3, p. 2048.

5. De Foville [note 1], p. 384.

6. Gustavus Eisen, assisted by Fahim Kouchakji, Glass: Its Origins, History, Chronology, Technic and Classification to the Sixteenth Century, New York, 1927, v. 1, p. 105, pl. 18. Curiously, Eisen does not even list the Seasons Vase in his inventory of cameo glasses, pp. 155-158.

7· Erika Simon, Die Portlandvase, Mainz, 1957, p. 80.

8. Sidney M. Goldstein, Leonard S. Rakow, and Juliette K. Rakow, Cameo Glass: Masterpieces of 2000 years of Glassmaking, Corning: The Corning Museum of Glass,1982, p. 15, note 49. Catry's report is on file at The Corning Museum of Glass.

9. Evelyne Veljovic, "Camées et intailles: Une Technique de virtuose," L'Estampille, no. 208, November 1987, pp. 14-19, fig. 3.

10. Marie-Louise Vollenweider, "Alabastron, dit Vase des Saisons," in Vrai ou Faux? Copier, imitier, falsifier, Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1988, pp. 90-92, pl. IX.

11. Joseph Guibert, Les Dessins du Cabinet Peiresc au Cabinet des Estampes de Ia Bibliothèque Nalionale, Paris, 1910.

12. Ibid., pp. 7-16.

13. The index is at the end of volume 2. It reads, "Vase d'agathe en forme de phiole où sont les quatres saisons personifiées: vue de tres côtés" (Guibert [note 11], p. 85). Evidently, the compiler was unaware that the subject of the drawing was also in the Cabinet des Medailles; otherwise, he would have known that there are only three figures.

14. The first piece of European cameo glass known to have been produced since Roman times was not made until about 1855. Subsequently, the main source of objects decorated in the manner of ancient cameo glass was Murano, where the Compagnia di Venezia e Murano made them in the 1880s and 1890s. See Geoffrey W. Beard, Nineteenth Century of Cameo Glass, Newport (England), 1956, p. 13; and Rosa Barovier, "Roman Glassware in the Museum of Murano and the Murano Revival of the Nineteenth Century," Journal of Glass Studies, v. 16, I974, pp. 111-119, especially pp. 116-117. Thus, to the best of our knowledge, the Seasons Vase, if modern, could not have entered the Cabinet des Medailles before about 1855.

15. Philippe Tamizey de Larroque, Lettres de Peiresc (Collection des Documents inédits sur l'Histoire de France), 7 vols., Paris, 1888-1898.

16. "Un larmoir du cabinet de Monsieur, frère du Roy, qui n'est que d'esmail bleu mais enrichy de figures blanches en forme de camayeul...." (Guibert [note 11], p. 64).

17. This is the onyx vessel in the possession of the Marquis deSourdis, described by Guibert [note 11], pp. 58-62, pl. XIV.

18. "Au reste, il s'est trouvé deux autres vases antiques...[il parle d'abord de celui de M. Sourdis] ... l'autre n'est que de verre bleu avec trois figures seulement en camahieu d'esmail blane de lait comme celuy du cardinal de Monte, qui est maintenant de l'eminentissime cardinal patron, mais cez trois figures sont accompagnées de tant de festons et autres enrichissementz, et le tout de si excellente manière, qu'on ne l'estime pas moings que Je précédent d'onyce, encores qu'il ne soit pas de plus grand volume .... On dict que celuy d'esmail est venu de Rome..." (Guibert [note 11], pp. 64-65). The Del Monte/Barberini cameo, of course, is the Portland Vase.

The existence of two cameo glasses in Rome created confusion. For example, M. deSaint-Julien, who appears to have been the curator of the collections of Gaston de France, believed that they were the same object—hence a letter from Peiresc to Guillaumin, written on May 2, 1633, distinguishing between the Seasons Vase and the Portland Vase, which is "bigger than my head" (Guibert [note 11], pp. 66-67; Nancy T. De Grummond, "Rubens, Peiresc and the Portland Vase," Southeastern College Art Conference Review, v, 7, no. 1, Spring 1974, pp. 6-11, especially pp. 6-7).

19. Gaston de France was the youngest brother of Louis XIII. He received the title "Monsieur" in 1611, when the second brother died.

20. For a short history of the Cabinet des Medailles, see Ernest Babelon, Guide illustré du Cabinet des Medailles el Antiques de Ia Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1900, pp. ix-xiv. An inventory of the royal collections in May 1684 contains the tantalizing entry: "Un vase antique de verre bleu orné de figures de paste." It is published in "lnventaires de curiosités trouvées en differents endroits de Ia Bibliothèque du Roy," Nouvelles archives de l'art franҫais, 1907, p. 330.

21. Harden [note 2]; David Whitehouse, "Late Roman Cameo Glass," Annales du 11' Congres de Association international pour l'Histoire du Verre (in preparation).

22. A. Maiuri, "Due pannelli vitrei figurati da Pompei," Bollettino d'Arte, v. 46, 1961, pp. 18-23; Harden et al. [note 2], pp. 70-73, no. 32.

23. Harden et al. [note 2], p. 79, no. 34.

24. Whitehouse [note 2]; Erika Simon, "Drei antike Gefässe aus Kameoglas in Corning, Florenz und Besanҫon, “Journal of Glass Studies, v. 6, 1964, pp. 13-30, especially pp. 21-24. Simon regards the Torrita Vase as Augustan and wonders whether it originated in the same workshop as the Portland Vase,

25. For gold-band "alabastra" (and similar vessels in colorless and translucent blue glass), see Andrew Oliver,Jr., "Late Hellenistic Glass in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," Journal of Glass Studies, v. 9, 1967, pp. 13-33, especially pp. 19-23 and Oliver's Group B. The principal difference between these vessels and the Seasons Vase is that the former had a separate, detachable neck and rim. For the chronology, see David Grose, "The Formation of the Roman Glass Industry," Archaeology, v. 36, no. 4, 1983, pp. 38-45, especially pp. 43-44. Vollenweider compares the form of the Seasons Vase with the silver alabastron from Palaiokastro in Thessaly, which D. E. Strong (Greek and Roman Silver Plate, London, 1966, p. 118) suggested was made "probably around 100 B.C."

26. Simon [note 24] p. 23.

27. Whitehouse [note 2].

28. De Foville [note 1], p. 379.

29. J. A. Hind, "Horae," in Dictionnaire des antiquités [note 4], v. H-K, pp. 249-256; George Hanfmann, "Horae," in Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd ed., Oxford, 1970, p. 527.

30. A. Furtwängler, Museum zu Berlin, Beschreibung des geschnittenen Steine in Antiquarium, Berlin, 1896, p. 229, no. 6262, pl. 43; de Foville [note 1], pp. 377 and 379.

31.Giorgio P. Compana, Antiche opere in plastica, Rome, 1842, pl. LXII.

32. B. de Montfaucon, L’Antiquité expliquée et representée en figures, Supplement, Paris, 1757, v. 5, p. 123, pl. 51; J. Winckelmann, Monumeti antichi inediti, Rome, 1767, v. 2, p. 151, pl. CXI; Guibert [note 11], pp. 65-66.

33. H. B. Walters, Catalogue of the Terracottas in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, London, 1903, pp. 395-396, nos. D583-584, pl. XLII. Nos. D5B5-586 in the same catalog are fragments from similar reliefs. All four objects were in the Towneley Collection.

34. H. B. Walters, Catalogue of the Roman Pottery in the Department of Antiquities, British Museum, London, 1908, p. 20, L54, pl. VI; A. Oxé, Arretinische Reliefgefässe vom Rhein (Materialen zur römischgermanischen, Keramik, v. 5), Frankfurt am Main, 1933, pp. 78-80, no. 132, pls. XXXII-XXXIV. Oxe also published (p. 80, no. 133, pl. XXXV) a large fragment in the Louvre, which has the same figure types, but it was made in a different mold.

35. As this paper went to press, I received a copy of Maria Teresa Marabini Moevs, "Penteteris e le tre Home nella Pompe di Tolomeo Filadelfo," Ballettino d'Arte, series 6, no. 42, March April 1987, pp. 1-36. In it, the author publishes fragments of Arretine vessels decorated with the Seasons from late Augustan (or slightly later) contexts at Cosa in Italy. She compares them with the crater signed by Ateius (described above), with other fragments from the workshop of Ateius, and with fragments of vessels and molds of similar date from the workshop of Perennius, signed by Bargathes, One of the mold fragments (ibid., fig. 14) shows very clearly the hair style and diadem of the figure that corresponds to figure B on the Seasons Vase. As Marabini Moevs points out, this hair style is characteristic of the late classical and early Hellenistic periods, and it occurs (often in combination with a diadem) in portraits of early Ptolemaic queens. Rather than a queen, however, she suggests that the figure is Penteteris, who preceded the Horae in the pompe (great procession) arranged by Ptolemy II Philadelphos at Alexandria (279-278 B.C.) to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of his father, Ptolemy I Soter. The recognition of precise Alexandrian prototypes for the figures on the Arretine vases permits us to reconcile the identification of figure B on the Seasons Vase as Ptolemaic with the Augustan or Tiberian date of the object itself.

36. The technology was discussed with Robert H. Brill, research scientist at the Museum. Also contacted were David Grose, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Kurt T. Luckner, The Toledo Museum of Art; and Andrew Oliver, Jr., National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C.

37. Fahim Kouchakji, "Cameos Manuscript," n.d.,photocopy. This manuscript is in the Rakow Library of The Corning Museum of Glass.

38. For a bibliography, see Susan B. Matheson, Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1980, p. 141, no. A7.

39. Through the kindness and assistance of Irene Aglion, curator of the Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques of the Bibliothèque Nationale, we were able to secure excellent color transparencies of the vase.

40. See his footnote 29.

41. See, for example, Sidney M. Goldstein, Pre-Roman and Early Roman Glass in The Coming Museum of Glass, Corning, N.Y.: the Museum, 1979. p. 203, no. 556, pls. 31 and 42.

Published on June 20, 2013

David Whitehouse, Senior Scholar
David Whitehouse (1941-2013) joined The Corning Museum of Glass in 1984 as chief curator. He was named deputy director of collections in 1987, was promoted to deputy director of the Museum in 1988, and became director in 1992. He was appointed to...
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