Welcome to CVA Online, the open access digital element of the CVA project. It is hosted by the Classical Art Research Centre on behalf of the Union Académique Internationale (UAI).
The Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum ('Corpus of Ancient Vases') is the oldest research project of the UAI. It consists of a series of high-quality catalogues of mostly ancient Greek painted pottery in collections around the world. The first fascicule appeared in 1922 and since then more than 400 have appeared, illustrating more than 100,000 vases in 24 countries.
The three-year CVA Online project originated in 2000, when Oxford University's Beazley Archive (later the Classical Art Research Centre) was invited to undertake the digitization of out-of-print fascicules. Some further digitization occurred up to 2016 and we continue to add resources when opportunities arise. The digitized catalogues can be viewed and browsed through this site. Their images and selected content are also integrated within CARC's Beazley Archive Pottery Database.
The Original Project
Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum is the oldest research project of the Union Académique Internationale. The first meeting to organise the project was held in Paris in 1919. Edmond Pottier (1855 -1934) initiated it and produced the first fascicule for the Louvre in 1922. Pottier's role in developing CVA is the subject of 'corpus of ancient vases' in Revue Archéologique 2004.
Pottier had become a curator in the Louvre in 1884, two years before all of its ancient pottery was incorporated into the Department of Oriental Antiquities. When the Louvre purchased several thousand ancient vases from the Campana Collection it became the largest collection of ancient pottery in the world. Many types were represented, for example Proto-Elamitic pottery which Pottier had been the first to publish in 1912.
Pottier's vision of the types of pottery in CVA was broad - all ancient pottery from Europe, the Mediterranean, the Near East and the Middle East. Pottier's vision of publishing every example of so many different types of ancient pottery was ambitious and not easily realized. In 1956 it was suggested that Greek and related wares only should be published; these now dominate CVA. By 2004 more than 300 fascicules had been published by more than 120 collections.
In 2000 the International Committee of CVA asked the Beazley Archive to prepare a feasibility study for the digitization of out of print fascicules, approximately 250 for the web. Later that year the Union Académique Internationale formally invited the Beazley Archive to undertake the project.
The CVA project, to digitize these fascicules began fully in 2002 and ended in September 2004. Residual grant funding and further generous support from the Bavarian Academy later allowed further additions up to 2016. Although we do not aim systematically to add digital versions of all fascicules, we take the opportunities to update and augment CVA Online when resources permit it.
- Union Académique
- Getty Grant Program
- British Academy
- University of Oxford
- Bavarian Academy
- Austrian Academy
- Institut de France; Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres
- Swiss Academy
- Unione Accademica Nazionale (Rome)