Skip to main content

Loans from Italy: The Chimaera from Arezzo

One of the positive things to emerge from the return of antiquities to Italy from various North American public museums has been the willingness of Italian authorities to loan objects in return. These include museums that have returned objects (e.g. Boston's Museum of Fine Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art) as well as those that have requested items (e.g. Indianapolis Museum of Art).  It also makes Kaywin Feldman's submission to CPAC outdated (and see earlier comments).

Michael Brand had talked about the Chimaera from Arezzo as he was leaving the J. Paul Getty Museum [press kit]. The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has now published an online museum review by Beth Cohen. This shows the bronze in its temporary installation while on loan from the Museum Archeologico Nazionale in Firenze. Cohen makes the point:
Focusing on this venerable masterpiece, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s intriguing boutique exhibition, which occupies a single gallery of the splendid Getty Villa, is the first fruit of an ongoing international association with Florence’s National Archaeological Museum. Their collaboration, which will include large loan exhibitions of ancient bronze statuary and Etruscan art, is one positive ramification of the separate agreement between the Italian Ministry of Culture and the J. Paul Getty Trust after the latter’s commitment to return 40 antiquities from the Getty Museum’s Villa Collection to Italy.
The exhibition includes the display of a number of coins also on loan.

The AIA should be praised for drawing attention to some of the fruit of the cultural exchange in this post-Medici Conspiracy period. The loan also emphasises the importance of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Italy.

Reference
Cohen, B. 2010. "New light on a master bronze from Etruria." American Journal of Archaeology 114. [pdf]

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The scale of the returns to Italy

I have been busy working on an overview, "Returning Archaeological Objects to Italy". The scale of the returns to Italy from North American collections and galleries is staggering: in excess of 350 objects. This is clearly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the material that has surfaced on the market without a history that can be traced back to the period before 1970. 

I will provide more information in due course, but the researcher is a reminder that we need to take due diligence seriously when it comes to making acquisitions.

Stele returns to Greece

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture has announced (Saturday 8 September 2018) that a stele that had been due to be auctioned at Sotheby's in London in June 2017 has been returned to Greece (Friday 7 September 2018). The identification had been made by Cambridge-based forensic archaeologist Dr Christos Tsirogiannis.

It appeared that the stele had been supplied with a falsified history as its presence with Becchina until 1990 contradicted the published sale catalogue entry. It then moved into the hands of George Ortiz.

A year ago it was suggested that Sotheby's should contact the Greek authorities. Those negotiations appear to have concluded successfully.

The 4th century BC stele fragment, with the personal name, Hestiaios, will be displayed in the Epigraphic Museum in Athens. It appears to have come from a cemetery in Attica.



"Beating sites to death"

Policy decisions for protecting archaeological sites need to be informed by carefully argued positions based on data. Dr Sam Hardy has produced an important study, “Metal detecting for cultural objects until ‘there is nothing left’: The potential and limits of digital data, netnographic data and market data for analysis”. Arts 7, 3 (2018) [online]. This builds on Hardy's earlier research.

Readers should note Hardy's conclusion about his findings: "they corroborate the detecting community’s own perception that they are ‘beat[ing these sites] to death’".

Pieterjan Deckers, Andres Dobat, Natasha Ferguson, Stijn Heeren, Michael Lewis, and Suzie Thomas may wish to reflect on whether or not their own position is endangering the finite archaeological record. 

Abstract
This methodological study assesses the potential for automatically generated data, netnographic data and market data on metal-detecting to advance cultural property criminology. The method comprises the analysi…