Art: The Ill-Bought Urn

In its day it graced a Grecian banquet table and held perhaps seven gallons of wine. So proud were its makers, the painter Euphronios and the potter Euxitheos, that each signed his name boldly on the front. Even now, 2,500 years later, the calyx krater is not merely the best Greek vase in existence. It is the costliest, having been bought last summer by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art for $1,000,000. As of last week, it was also by far the most controversial.

The furor began when the New York Times, advancing further in its holy war against the Met, charged...

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