Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Funerary stele returned to Greece

Stele revealed at the Epigraphic Museum
Athens
It is reported that today, December 20, 2022, that a funerary stele for one Epikrates has been returned to Greece. The stele is stated that it was due to have been offered through Christie's in London (December 2021) but was identified from three photographs in the Becchina archive and was withdrawn after intervention by the Art Squad of the Metropolitan Police. Incidentally, the stele was said to have been handled by Koutoulakis, a name that should have raised concerns. 

These three photographs were considered to be sufficient evidence for the return. (I am grateful to Christos Tsirogiannis for sharing the images with me.) Yet, when photographs of a Cycladic figure were identified with a piece residing in the Stern Collection there appears to have been a reluctance for the Greek authorities to seek the immediate return. Indeed there is currently an exhibition, 'Homecoming', at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens that contains 15 Cycladic pieces from the Stern Collection. I understand that questions relating to this inconsistency of policy were asked at the press conference today but were deflected by the Minister. 

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