Tampa Museum of Art

Greek & Roman Antiquities

The first artwork purchased by the Tampa Museum of Art was an ancient Greek vase—an Attic black-figure column krater bought in 1981 —and this has remained an important area of collecting for the Museum ever since. The Museum’s most notable acquisition of antiquities came five years later, in the form of the Joseph Veach Noble Collection, a significant private collection of over 150 objects amassed primarily in the 1950s and ‘60s.

A collector and scholar interested in the techniques of ancient painted pottery, Mr. Noble had assembled a collection especially strong in the black- and red-figure pottery of Greece (particularly Athens and Attica) and South Italy, including numerous vases of interest for technical reasons as well as for their beauty and interesting iconography. Many of these vases, together with scores of others acquired by the Museum in the years since 1986, are widely known among students and scholars on account of their frequent inclusion in exhibition catalogs and academic books and articles.

While vases undoubtedly constitute the core of the Noble Collection, Mr. Noble also collected in other media, including two notable marble statues—a life-sized torso of Aphrodite discovered by Gavin Hamilton in 1771 and displayed for many years at Marbury Hall in England, and a nearly life-sized Poseidon/Neptune that has become the inspiration for Poseidon and the Sea, a large exhibition currently in preparation.

Other non-ceramic highlights of the collection include two marble Cycladic figurines, a Greek Geometric bronze horse, several Etruscan bronzes, and a Roman marble grave altar; these and other objects appear on the following pages, together with a number of vases.

The Museum continues to add to its collection, by gift as well as purchase. In 2011, the Museum adopted a new Collections Management Policy with special considerations for archaeological material and ancient art, recognizing the importance of AAM and AAMD guidelines and of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Related to the Museum’s collection of classical antiquities is a significant collection of several hundred nineteenth-century photographs of antiquities: both in situ at a number of important archaeological sites in Greece, Italy, and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean; and on display in various European museums.


Statue of Poseidon
Roman, 1st century A.D.
Tampa Museum of Art. Joseph Veach Noble Collection  1986.135