The Polygnotos Krater Revisited: Object History, Iconography, and Digitisation

The project aims to re-examine one of the most beautiful pieces in the Archaeological Collection of the University of Vienna, the so-called Polygnotos Krater. Dating from 430/20 BCE, the fragments of this large calyx krater depict three scenes from the Trojan War interwoven into a visual narrative. Although the shards entered the Collection in 1888 and have been known ever since, the fragments were awaiting restoration and gave little idea of the once magnificent vessel. The project re-examines the fragments by using a combination of archival research, iconographic study, and digital methods. It traces the object back to its discovery in Etruscan Vulci, reconstructs the circumstances of its acquisition, and traces its links with the history of Viennese Classical Archaeology, especially with Otto Benndorf and the young Ludwig Pollak. Using digital methods such as photogrammetry, 3D modelling and 3D printing, the project physically reconstructs the vessel, and it uses Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to document and visualise faint traces of inscriptions and details of the paintings. Based on the new reconstruction, the images of the vessel are discussed, situating them in their iconographic tradition and exploring their relationship to stage versions of the subjects in Classical Athens. More generally, the project is designed as a case study of how object-based research, provenance research and digital technologies can be combined in university collections.

Univ.-Ass. Mag. Mag. Dr. Matthias Hoernes
T:++43 1 4277 40605
Room A1.17