Maria Teresa Marabini Moevs: Per una storia del gusto: riconsiderazioni sul Calice Warren con Appendice di Claudio Franchi: Sulla tecnica di realizzazione del Calice Warren (Estratto dal fasc. 146)


A history of taste: the Warren chalice reconsidered with Appendix by Claudio Franchi

A small silver chalice decorated with two homoerotic scenes, originally in the collection of the American connoisseur Edward Perry Warren, was acquired in 1999 by the British Museum.
It has become in recent years one of the most discussed and admired documents of sexuality in antiquity. Scholars agree on these basic points: its authenticity, dating to the early Roman imperial period, anthropological significance and exceptional artistic value.
The conclusion reached in this study is that the object was conceived in the shrewd milieu of the Italian antiquities market, likely at the end of the nineteenth century, to satisfy the demand of a particular foreign clientele. It was executed by a very skillful artisan familiar with the linear forms of the Italian Liberty style, but ill at ease with the iconographic and stylistic models presented to him: Attic red-figured vases and Arretine ceramics, authentic and falsified, by the workshop of Perennius. The voyeuristic meaning attributed by scholars to the principal scene is an erroneous interpretation of an Alexandrian love epigram in the decorative repertory of the same workshop.
In Appendix the technical examination of the chalice, by the silversmith Claudio Franchi, based on his long practical experience coupled with theoretical knowledge, corroborates and amplifies the historical-aesthetic evaluation.