Edmond Pottier Daguerreotype by Manuel Brothers, after P. Rouet, Approaches to the Study of Attic Vases (Oxford, 2001) pl. 21
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 "A corpus of ancient vases" in Revue Archéolgique 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 realised.
In 1956 it was suggested that Greek and related wares only should be published; these now dominate CVA. By 2004 more than 300 fascicules have been published by more than 120 collections in 26 countries.
The Campana Gallery after Pottier’s
Rearrangement of the collection.
After P. Rouet, Approaches to the Study of Attic Vases. (Oxford, 2001) pl. 9
In 2000 the International Committee of CVA asked the Beazley Archive to prepare a feasibility study for the digitisation 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 digitise these fascicules began in 2002 and ended in September 2004. The project is on-going; new fascicules are being published and participating museums have the opportunity to contribute to the on-line database.