Letter: Ancient aesthetics

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The Independent Online
Sir: James Fenton's article about the Royal Academy show of the Ortiz antiquities collection makes most of the essential points in his usual elegant and thoughtful way (31 January).

I cannot, however, see that the collection has any centrally unifying principle - the objects shown are so heterogeneous and come from such wildly disparate cultures. Furthermore, some, surely, have no aesthetic value at all.

For example, the little pottery dishes and a scoop (Boeotian, 700 BC), and many other of the more primitive objects, may have great archaeological significance but who would claim them to be beautiful? Without beauty, or context, what meaning can they have?

Yours faithfully,


Wells, Somerset

31 January