Thursday, 10 December 2020

Funerary reliefs from Ostia

Funerary reliefs of the Caltilii.
Source: Tampa Museum of Art (L), The J. Paul Getty Museum (R).




The Italian Senator, Margherita Corrado, has raised the issue of funerary reliefs from the tomb of the Caltilii in Ostia ("Italian Senator Margherita Corrado commenting on two suspect Roman altars at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Tampa Museum of Art", ARCA blog, December 8, 2020).  She has identified two Roman funerary reliefs that appear to come from a family burial area on the Via dei Sepolchri. One is in the J. Paul Getty Museum (inv. 83.AA.209), donated by Achille Moretti, and the other in the Tampa Museum of Art (inv. 1991.001), purchased by The Collectors. 

The Tampa relief is the monument of L. Caltilius Diadumenus (with a mention of L. Caltilius Euhodus) (AE 2001 [2004], no. 621, 'fouilles clandestines'), and the Getty shows the funerary altar of L. Caltilius Stephanus and Caltilia Moschis. Caltilia Moschis also appears in a second relief now in the Palazzo Mattei in Rome (and discussed in Roman Funerary Sculptures no. 27). The Getty relief surfaced in an exhibition, partly arranged with J. Frel, at Geneva's Musée d'histoire et d'art in 1982. Corrado's press release claims that documentation in the seized Becchina archive shows that Palladion Antike Kunst tried to sell the altar to a US museum on behalf of a Swiss-based collector. 

Did the curatorial team at Tampa investigate the history of the relief when concerns were raised about it in 2004? Who handled the relief before it was sold to Tampa?

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