Stanislaw Kostka Potocki's Greek Vases. A Study Attempt at the Reconstruction of the Collection
Description: hardback, jacket, 298 pp. (31x25cm)
Condition: very good
Witold Dobrowolski, Stanislaw Kostka Potocki's Greek Vases. A Study Attempt at the Reconstruction of the Collection, Warsaw 2007
Stanislaw Kostka Potocki's collection was established in late J785 and early 1786 in Naples, where Count Potocki sojourned with his mother-in-law, Duchess Izabela Lubomirska. It numbered ca. 115 pieces acquired in various ways, also during archaeological excavations in Nolan graves, financed by Potocki. In the course of the 19th century, Potocki's collection grew to ca. 293 pieces, thus becoming the largest in Poland. The historical inventories of this collection, however, were destroyed during the 2nd World War; hence, it is very difficult today to separate the divisions of this collection.
The present attempt resulted in the identification of half the collection, including all its most precious and significant vessels. It is consequently possible to evaluate the collection in general, and, from a historian's point of view, to judge the collector's interest in this branch of Greek art more objectively. Naturally, Stanistaw Kostka Potocki did not limit his interests to ancient Greek painted vases. He was a talented connoisseur of modern European painting and graphics, as well as Oriental art. Among his studies there is a reconstruction of the Villa of Pliny, made in the spirit of neo-Classicism, whose artistic level is stunning even today. Due to the accuracy of his observations, this experienced collector, scholar and art critic is recognised as the pioneer of art history and art evaluation in Poland. In the European context, Potocki's interest in ancient vases to a certain extent reflected the current tendencies in the archaeological studies, a then emerging branch of knowledge. At that time, beginning with the works by Buonarroti and Gori, to Hamilton's monumental publications, of which the first volume appeared in the year 1762, archaeology approached its topic much in the spirit of art history. These authors, apart from expressing their admiration for the artistic and technical prowess of ancient ceramicists, attempted to interpret the scenes depicted on those masterpieces of classical art.
The present catalogue is the achievement of Dr Witold Dobrowolski, an outstanding expert on ancient art, professor of the University of Warsaw, member of the Committee of Ancient Culture Studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the curator of the Department of Ancient Art in the National Museum in Warsaw.