Monday, July 23, 2007

Counting gigantes in New York

A friend in North America asked me if we were preparing a statistical study of the newly opened classical galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I would hate to be accused of 'bean counting' by the curator of the Greek and Roman antiquities, but Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome (2007) was sitting on my desk for use in another project.

A flick through the donors for the 476 entries presented some interesting names. Here are two that caught my eye.

Nicolas Koutoulakis gave a fragment of a glass bowl with erotic scene (no. 388; inv. 1995.86). His name appears in the infamous 'organigram' published in The Medici Conspiracy with a direct link to 'Robert Hechte' (sic). Koutoulakis' generosity goes back a long way and included an Etruscan Pontic amphora given in 1955 (no. 330; inv. 55.7).

The purchase of a Campanian (or South Italian) statuette of a bronze standing male figure was made possible through the gift of Jeanette and Jonathan Rosen (no. 66; inv. 2000.40). Is this the same Jonathan Rosen linked with Atlantis Antiquities and Robert Hecht? How did the bronze first surface?

Does this catalogue contain other equally prominent names in the world of North American collecting? Sadly the histories of the pieces have not been provided. How many objects passed through the hands of names now familiar from The Medici Conspiracy?

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