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Panathenaic amphora (Attica, Greece)

Ánfora panatenaica Pulse para ampliar Ánfora panatenaica

Colección Salamanca. Cultura griega (Sala 36, Vitrina 28)

This piece has a curious history, having undergone several interventions through the ages.

The first one dates from the Greek period, with staples perforations made by an ancient pottery mender on the scene depicting the armed goddess Athena.

In the 19th century these fragments and parts of other vases were used to reconstruct the piece we see today, as X-rays have revealed. The main side, with the image of the goddess, and the neck and handles belonged to an amphora; the base formed part of a second amphora, and the foot comes from a third. The other side was rebuilt by the restorer with pieces of ceramic glued together and then painted. On this base the restorer created a Hoplite combat scene.

The execution was so perfect that scholars of the day believed it to be the Greek original, going so far as to publish the existence of combats between armed warriors in the Panathenaic Games, even though athletes always fought naked in these contests. The intervention was carried out by Raffaele Gargiulo, a famous restorer at the Museum of Naples, and published in 1845.

In the 1970s and 80s the retouchings that concealed the fractures were removed but fortunately the 19th-century falsification was preserved as a rare example of the restoration criteria and techniques of the period.