September 27, 2006
Giacomo Medici is currently on trial in Italy as part of a much wider crackdown on the smuggling of antiquities. Medici was responsible for the Met’s acquisition of the Euphronios Krater (since returned to Italy).
In a somewhat bizarre twist to proceedings, while continuing to protest his innocence, he is now offerering to hand over to Italy a piece which he describes as having greater value the Euphronois Krater. He believes that the value of the (as yet unseen piece) will be enough to cover the fines imposed on him by Italy – thereby allowing him to go free.
Quite how he can have access to this unknown piece, yet deny dealing in looted artefacts is more than a little unclear at present.
Updated: New York, Sep 26 09:04
Art Smuggler Offers Italy Mystery Masterpiece `X’ to End Trial
By Vernon Silver
Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — A convicted antiquities smuggler has offered to return a previously unknown ancient masterpiece known as “Object X” to Italy in exchange for reducing the jail time and fines he faces for supplying loot to U.S. museums.
A famous artist from the ancient world whose work compares to that of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci created Object X, says the convicted art dealer, Giacomo Medici, who is free while awaiting appeal. The object, which may be a statue, vase, or something else — he’s not saying — is worth millions, he says.
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