Throughout the history of art, certain works stand out as the singular creations of virtuoso artists. For ancient Greek art, think of the black-figure amphora in the Vatican Museum by Exekias that represents Achilles and Ajax, which was made about a generation before the Sarpedon krater, or the Hellenistic bronze Statue of a Boxer at Rest in the Museo Nazionale Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome. For those less familiar with ancient art, consider the Apollo and Daphne (1622–25), a marble sculpture group by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from Baroque Italy, or think of El Greco’s remarkable landscape painting View of Toledo (1596–1600), now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. The vase signed by Euphronios as painter and Euxitheos as potter that is the subject of Nigel Spivey’s engaging and erudite new book...


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