Friday, March 8, 2013

Bothmer Fragments Linked to Rome

Detail of Attic red-figured cup.
Fragments in the Villa Giulia and
the Bothmer collection, New York
In January 2012 it was announced that 40 fragments from the 10,000 or so bequeathed to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art would be returning to Italy. So far only a very limited number of images have appeared, but last week Cambridge University researcher Christos Tsirogiannis told me that he had made an identification for some cup fragments.

Tsirogiannis spotted that the missing pentagonal shape from an Attic red-figured cup now resided in the Villa Giulia in Rome. The tondo scene shows a central volute-krater, with a satyr holding a kantharos, and a maenad to the right.

The fragment had been attributed to the 'Euaion painter', a decorator of pots well known to Bothmer. Several fragments are listed (by the Beazley Archive) in his collection (though not apparently this cup), and he donated other fragments to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. For example, one cup in the Met was reconstituted after Bothmer donated a series of fragments from 1973 to 1989. The source of these fragments is undeclared. The fragments in the Getty were donated from 1981 to 1986.

Bothmer had also made connections with fragments in Paris and Dresden. So why did he overlook the Rome connection? Or had he made the connection, but had not wished to declare it?

And given his interest in the 'Euaion painter' is he likely to have overlooked the connection?

There are wider issues. When did the Villa Giulia fragment become separated from the rest of the cup? Clearly the Rome fragment was known in the early 20th century. But have the other fragments been residing unrecorded in some other collection? Or were they left in an Etruscan tomb in Tuscany? When did they enter the Bothmer collection? What was their source?

There are also 'Euaion painter' fragments from the former Robert Guy collection in Harvard. Do any fit with the fragments in the Bothmer collection?

And what are all the collecting histories of all these 'Euaion painter' fragments?

What associations will be provided as the Met starts to publish more of the Bothmer collection? And what is their plan to release images and details of this bequest?

It was the original intention of the 'artist' that the fragments be seen as part of a single cup. Will the Met be contacting the staff of the Villa Giulia to arrange the restoration of the cup?

I am grateful to Tsirogiannis for giving me permission to share this identification on Looting Matters.

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1 comment:

Nord Wennerstrom said...

Thanks for the continued coverage of this story and for making these connections.

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