Greek Week

Attic Black-Figure Dinos painted by the Gorgon Painter, at the Louvre
Detail of the Attic Black-Figure Dinos painted by the Gorgon Painter, at the Louvre, taken from

With a handful of new Treasure Hunt themes up my sleeve , it’s especially rewarding when I come across one piece of art which applies to a number of different themes. It feels resourceful somehow, and certainly efficient. I can’t very well write up many of these treasures or I’d be giving a bunch of THATMuse-hints away — efficiently losing my resources. But one or two doesn’t seem to do much harm. And anyway, there are always some bonus question referring back to the blog which rewards anyone for reading my trivial Louvre-filled trivia. Greek pots are rich in THATMuse folklore.

However, the Campana Galérie has been closed since January. Most people probably haven’t noticed as Greek pots are the epitome of a dusty old museum, empty apart from the stray, white-haired patrons stooping over one vitrine for hours, themselves gathering dust. Before THATMuse and before our cherub, STORSH, was born, el Argentino and I would balance the age-average, and join the few geriatrics inspecting Greek pots. We’d happily prowl the halls of the Campana Galérie (which runs along the Seine, facing the Académie Française, overlooking the Pont des Arts) for hours at a stretch.

Storsh on his first visit to the Louvre
STORSH on his first visit to the Louvre, at one month. For a while we called him Mr Pelike Pot-Belly, because his belly was the shape of this pot – a Pelike is photographed herewith

The sign closing these rooms off said that they’d re-open in March, then in May, another sign arose stating June. Finally this past week, el Argentino brushed the dust off his shoulders and wrote the head of the Greek and Roman dept at the Louvre an email saying what’s up, yo? We were just in Greece and even the Archaeological Museum in Athens – a capital doomed with imminent catastrophe – had enough personnel to show their pots off.

Much to our surprise the curator wrote back within 5 minutes putting a dozen people in copy. He said it wasn’t a matter of personnel, but that they were cleaning the glass cases; that the rooms would be open at the end of the summer. Perhaps he put all those people in copy because he himself had been trying to get the Galerie opened earlier, and wanted to show his colleagues that a member of the Louvre was getting feisty about it. Or perhaps he was just being French (my French colleagues love pressing ‘reply all’ on mass mails just for some inanity).

Storsh - a few weeks old
Gratuitous snap of STORSH, a few weeks old – back when we called him Mr Pelike Pot-Belly

So for whatever reason we have been deprived of our fat-bellied Pelike pots, or Volute Kraters with delightfully scandalous red- or black-figure paintings of prancing athletes, privates dangling out for everyone to see. And THATMuse has suffered as well, since the Greeks were so varied in their stories and myths that just about any of the themes I’ve covered could have at least one Greek pot in it.

But there is a room 74, on the 1st floor of Sully, near the Campana Galerie which has some Greek pots and there are of course a few small rooms of early Etruscan stuff downstairs, below the Daru stairwell (where Nike of Samothrace is — another Greek delight which will be returned to later this week). And most importantly – why this whole post came about – I’ll linger on an Attic Black-Figured Dinos, by the one and only Gorgon Painter. With Perseus escaping a Gorgon (as the photo at top details — perfecto for a Beauty and the Bestiary THATLou, don’t you think?), there are oodles of themes this fine Dinos touch.

Daru Stairwell, Louvre
Daru Stairwell, Louvre, photo taken from


Please feel free to leave suggestions for THATMuse themes, or to let me know your favourite existing theme.