Skip to main content

Sarpedon emerges for public display in Rome

Vernon Silver's study of the Euphronios cup is a must-read for anybody interested in the way that antiquities were removed from their archaeological contexts and then passed into the market.

Silver now completes the story of the "lost" cup "signed" by Euphronios showing Hypnos and Thanatos with Sarpedon (a companion piece to the Sarpedon krater returned from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art). This cup had formed part of the Hunt Collection (Wealth of the Ancient World [1983] no. 5) and had been sold at Sotheby's in 1990 (19 June 1990, lot 6). Silver writes:
Euphronios’ Sarpedon kylix has gone on display at Rome’s Villa Giulia museum with no fanfare or public announcement.
There does not appear to be an official press release from the Italian Ministry of Culture.

The cup is displayed alongside other pieces returned from Italy (including the krater returned by Shelby White) and Silver notes:
Its label, which has no accession number, describes it as coming from the Geneva raid (and doesn’t mention that, technically, it’s still Medici’s property, pending the resolution of his legal cases).


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Liz Marlowe said…
Fantastic news! Do any Looting Matters readers know if anyone has weighed in on the implications of the fact that one Etruscan tomb may have contained two scenes of the Death of Sarpedon painted by Euphronios? Might this not suggest that at least some Etruscan buyers were more discerning than we've allowed?

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.

Attic amphora handed back to Italians

The research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has led to the return of an Attic red-figured amphora, attributed to the Harrow painter, to Italy (Tom Mashberg, "Stolen Etruscan Vessel to Be Returned to Italy", New York Times March 16, 2017).

The amphora is known to have passed through the hands of Swiss-based dealer Gianfranco Becchina in 1993, and then through a New York gallery around 2000 (although its movements between those dates are as yet undisclosed).

During the ceremony, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the District Attorney stated:
“When looters overrun historic sites, mine sacred spaces for prized relics, and peddle stolen property for top dollar, they do so with the implicit endorsement of all those who knowingly trade in stolen antiquities” More research clearly needs to be conducted on how material handled by Becchina passed into the North American market and into the hands of private and public collectors.