Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pompeii fresco stolen

Pompeii, Regio VI. Source: Google Earth
There are reports in the Italian news media that a fresco of Apollo and Artemis has been damaged and Artemis removed from Room 20 of the House of Neptune (VI.5.3) at Pompeii. An image of the fresco can be found here (Pompeii in Pictures: December 2007). It appears that the fresco was removed earlier in March.

The house was damaged by Allied bombing in 1943 during an attack on the nearby railway.

Presumably somebody thought that they could sell this documented painting on the market. Perhaps it would have surfaced as formerly in an "old European collection". Hopefully the publicity will mean that the fragment, measuring some 20 by 20 cm, will be returned.

The damaged fresco
with Artemis removed
Source: ANSA
This incident reminds us of the difficulty of policing such a huge archaeological site of such international importance.

It is worth remembering that North American collectors acquired fresco fragments that clearly had been derived from the area of the Bay of Naples, and that these have formed part of the returns to Italy. For further details see here.

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