Skip to main content

Rome Exhibition: L'Arma per l'Arte

At the end of last week I was able to visit the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome for the new exhibition, 'L'Arma per l'Arte: Antologia di meraviglie'. This show celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale. There are 60 exhibits including paintings and other works of art.

The exhibition contains a selection of the objects returned from North America as well as some other recovered antiquities:
1. Protocorinthian olpe. Formerly Princeton University Art Museum 995-149.
2. Caeretan hydria. Odysseus and Polyphemos. Formerly Shelby White collection (and on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
3. Attic black-figured cup. Symposium. Formerly Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum 87.AE.22.
4. Attic red-figured calyx-krater. Zeus and Ganymede. Eucharides painter. Formerly Shelby White collection (and on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
5. Attic red-figured calyx-krater. Orestes.  Formerly Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum 87.AE.66.
6. Apulian loutrophoros. Formerly Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum 84.AE.966.
7. Bronze statue of Victoria. From Herculaneum. Formerly Royal-Athena Galleries, New York.
8. Marble statue of Tyche.  Formerly Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum 96.AA.49.
9. Marble statue of Sabina. Formerly Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 1979.556.
10. Bronze Etruscan candelabrum. Recovered from private collection at Vulci (2005).
11. Attic red-figured calyx-krater. Death of Sarpedon. Formerly New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 1972.11.10 (L.2006.10).
12. Bronze statue of Zeus. Firenze, Museo Archeologico Nazionale inv. 2291. Recovered in 1985.
13. Bronze handles from krater. Tuscania (VT), Museo Archeologico inv. 70820. Recovered in 1982.
14. Marble relief with Hercules. Napoli, Museo Arheologico Nazionale inv. 6683. Recovered in 1978.
15. Marble group of Capitoline Triad. Palestrina, Museo Archeologico inv. 80546. Recovered in 1994.
48. Etruscan bronze candelabrum. Melfi (PZ), Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Melfese inv. 110076. From Ruvo del Monte. Recovered in 1981.
49. Marble sarcophagus fragment. Amazonomachy. Roma, Antiquarium Comunale del celio, inv. Ant. Com. 34095. Recovered in 1998.

Exhibition catalogue edited by Lisa Della Volpe (ISBN 978 88 8347 488 0). [Publisher]

For a discussion of some of these returns:
  • Gill, D. W. J. 2009. "Homecomings: learning from the return of antiquities to Italy." In Art and Crime: exploring the dark side of the art world, edited by N. Charney: 13-25. Santa Barbara: Praeger.
  • Chippindale, C., and D. W. J. Gill. 2000. "Material consequences of contemporary classical collecting." American Journal of Archaeology 104: 463-511.
  • Gill, D. W. J., and C. Chippindale. 2006. "From Boston to Rome: reflections on returning antiquities." International Journal of Cultural Property 13: 311-31.
  • —. 2007a. "From Malibu to Rome: further developments on the return of antiquities." International Journal of Cultural Property 14: 205-40.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know


David- I find it ironic that Italy is holding another "trophy art" exhibit at a cultural heritage site that has been neglected by Italy's cultural bureaucracy and is apparently badly in need of repair. See

Doesn't all this just divert attention from the real problem-- Italy's unwillingness to fund its cultural heritage establishment properly and to adopt more rational laws-- like PAS and Treasure Trove --that would ensure that the State only keeps what it can reasonably be expected to take care of?


Peter Tompa
David Gill said…
Peter Popham's article dates from 2005.
IIANM, the English Treasure Law of 1996, which codifies older practice with some changes, makes treasure the property of the crown and has nothing to do with the state's ability to care for objects. Therefore, it would make no difference for this class of finds in a country that does already makes archaeological finds the property of the state (like Italy, which also already compensates landowners for finds made on their property).

Besides which, caring for a building is hardly on the same scale as caring for ceramic pots.
jj22 said…
i found a blog from someone from rome, i guess born there since you can breath the rome's air in those posts, there is a section about exhibitions rome, italy, there is also an english translation tool there

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 …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Mithras relief from Tor Cervara

A fragmentary relief of Mithras was discovered in 1964 at Tor Cervara on the outskirts of Rome. It was acquired by the Museo Nazionale Romano.

A further fragment of the relief was acquired by the Badisches Landesmueum in Kalrsruhe in 1976. The source was an unstated Swiss dealer. This fragment has been reunited with the rest of the relief [press release].

Today a further fragment of the relief was reunited with the other pieces. This had been recovered during a raid in Sardinia.