Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Oscilla from the Steinhardt Collection

Source: Manhattan DA
Among the objects returned to Italy from the collection formed by Michael Steinhardt were four Roman oscilla. The Manhattan DA Statement of Facts expands:
A set of four marble oscillum (collectively “the Marble Oscilla”), or Roman disks suspended on chains between columns in gardens, appear in dirt-encrusted fragments in multiple Polaroid photographs recovered from the Medici Archive. ... Depicting satyrs and female followers of Dionysus, the Marble Oscilla were crafted in Italy between 100 B.C.E. and 100 C.E. The Marble Oscilla first surfaced on the international art market in 1992, when Steinhardt purchased the antiquities from Robin Symes with no prior provenance for $175,000. In 1998, Steinhardt sent the Marble Oscilla to a Brooklyn-based restorer for“cleaning and repair.” 
The suggestion is that these oscilla probably came from the garden of a residence. Was this a residence buried during the eruption of Vesuvius?

Two further oscilla are known from Polaroids: these are now displayed in the Miho Museum, Japan. Concerns about their origins were first raised in 2007. Daniella Rizzo and Maurizio Pellegrini have recently indicated that the oscilla feature, like the Steinhardt ones, in the Medici Dossier. They also suggested that they come from 'the Vesuvian area'. Carlos Picón separately has indicated that the parallels for such items come from the area around Vesuvius.

One wonders if the Steinhardt and the Miho oscilla come from the same complex but we will have to await the definitive publication of the Steinhardt examples. 

Will the return of the Steinhardt oscilla place renewed pressure on the Miho Museum to return their pieces so that the series, perhaps originally displayed in the same garden space, can be reunited in Italy?

The identifications of the Steinhardt oscilla were made by Associate Professor Christos Tsirogiannis. 

Source: Miho Museum

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1 comment:

David Gill said...

For one of the polaroid images of one of the Miho Museum oscilla see:

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