Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Loans from Italy: The Chimaera from Arezzo

One of the positive things to emerge from the return of antiquities to Italy from various North American public museums has been the willingness of Italian authorities to loan objects in return. These include museums that have returned objects (e.g. Boston's Museum of Fine Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art) as well as those that have requested items (e.g. Indianapolis Museum of Art).  It also makes Kaywin Feldman's submission to CPAC outdated (and see earlier comments).

Michael Brand had talked about the Chimaera from Arezzo as he was leaving the J. Paul Getty Museum [press kit]. The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has now published an online museum review by Beth Cohen. This shows the bronze in its temporary installation while on loan from the Museum Archeologico Nazionale in Firenze. Cohen makes the point:
Focusing on this venerable masterpiece, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s intriguing boutique exhibition, which occupies a single gallery of the splendid Getty Villa, is the first fruit of an ongoing international association with Florence’s National Archaeological Museum. Their collaboration, which will include large loan exhibitions of ancient bronze statuary and Etruscan art, is one positive ramification of the separate agreement between the Italian Ministry of Culture and the J. Paul Getty Trust after the latter’s commitment to return 40 antiquities from the Getty Museum’s Villa Collection to Italy.
The exhibition includes the display of a number of coins also on loan.

The AIA should be praised for drawing attention to some of the fruit of the cultural exchange in this post-Medici Conspiracy period. The loan also emphasises the importance of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Italy.

Reference
Cohen, B. 2010. "New light on a master bronze from Etruria." American Journal of Archaeology 114. [pdf]

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