Skip to main content

Reunification or Dispersal: The New Acropolis Museum

Finds from the Athenian Acropolis have long been dispersed between three major collections in Athens (in addition to the old Acropolis Museum): the National Archaeological Museum, the Epigraphic Museum, and the Numismatic Museum. (This excludes some of the material from the North Slope of the Acropolis that is in the Agora Museum.)

Ta Nea (" Χάλκινοι θησαυροί βρίσκουν στέγη στο Νέο Μουσείο Ακρόπολης", December 30, 2008) [link] carried a story that there has yet to be agreement over the range of material from the three museums that will be released for display in the New Acropolis Museum. It had been hoped to transfer some 220 bronzes from the National Archaeological Museum, six hoards from the Numismatic Museum, and 43 inscriptions from the Epigraphic Museum.

The New Akropolis Museum provides an opportunity to consolidate the finds and present the archaeological remains---sculptures, bronzes, terracottas, pottery, inscriptions, coins---from this major civic sanctuary (and World Heritage site) in one place. Thus the accounts for the construction of the Parthenon could be displayed alongside other parts of the building.

Failure to resolve this issue would send out a signal that dispersal is acceptable: and that has implications for the debate about the return of the Parthenon sculptures.

Image
© David Gill

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

The Toledo skyphos and a Swiss private collection

The Attic red-figured skyphos attributed to the Kleophon painter in the Toledo Museum of Art (inv. 1982.88) is now coming under further scrutiny following the research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis. The skyphos shows Hephaistos returning to Olympos.

Tsirogiannis has identified what appears to be this skyphos in five photographs in the Medici Dossier. The museum acknowledged that the skyphos had resided in a 'private Swiss collection'. Tsirogiannis suggests that this is probably a reference to Medici.

Enquiries to the museum by Tsirogiannis elicited the information that the skyphos had been acquired from Nicholas Koutoulakis (although that information does not appear on the museum's online catalogue).

The curatorial team at the Toledo Museum of Art will, no doubt, be contacting the Italian authorities to discuss the future residence of the skyphos.

For further discussion of the Toledo Museum of Art on LM see here.

Reference
Tsirogiannis, C. 2017. "Nekyia: Museum ethics an…

Metropolitan Museum of Art hands over Paestan krater

In May 2014 I commented on a Paestan krater acquired by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art after it had been identified by Dr Christos Tsirogiannis in photographic images seized from Giacomo Medici. Tsirogiannis published his full concerns in the Journal of Art Crime in 2014, but it has taken a further three years for the museum to respond.

The krater showing Dionysos in a hand-drawn cart was purchased in 1989 from the Bothmer Purchase Fund (details from the Museum's website, inv. 1989.11.4). The krater surfaced through Sotheby's New York in June 1989.

It is unclear who consigned the krater to Sotheby's New York.

It has now been revealed that the krater has been handed over to the US authorities after a warrant had been issued (Tom Mashberg, "Ancient Vase Seized From Met Museum on Suspicion It Was Looted", New York Times July 31, 2018).

It appears that the museum did make an attempt to resolve the case in December 2016. Mashberg notes:
The Met, for its par…