Skip to main content

Madrid and the Schinoussa Archive

The curatorial authorities at the Museo Arqueologico Nacional, Madrid are under increasing pressure to resolve the case of the 22 items acquired for their collection that appear to have been derived from Giacomo Medici and Gianfranco Becchina.

One of the amphorae in dispute first surfaced in the collection of the film producer Joseph E. Levine. The amphora seems to be the one that appears covered with deposits, apparently fresh out of the tomb, in a polaroid from the Medici Dossier. So how did the amphora move from Medici to Levine?

The answer seems to lie in the Schinoussa Archive. Images of a freshly cleaned amphora appear in the dossier. It would appear that the amphora was handled by Robin Symes. (And was he the last in the network of dealers?)

There is a far more fundamental question that Madrid needs to answer. How was the museum able to acquire a major collection antiquities of recently-surfaced antiquities in 1999 without ensuring their collecting histories? Remember that this was in the period after the revelations of the Geneva Freeport Raids and the dispersal of antiquities through a certain auction-house through the London (and was it only London?) market.

Image
Attic black-figured amphora from the Schinoussa Archive. Courtesy of Christos Tsirogiannis.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

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 …

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.