Showing results 1 - 12 of 28 for the month of October, 2005.

October 31, 2005

The crack down on looted artefacts in museums

Posted at 9:15 am in Similar cases

Based around the publicity currently surrounding the Getty’s collection, this article looks not only at the current restitution requests made by the Italian government, but also more generally at the issues that surround the antiquities trade in the twenty-first century.

Bloomberg News

Tomb-Robbing Trials Name Getty, Metropolitan, Princeton Museums
Oct. 31 (Bloomberg)

Photos seized from a Swiss warehouse paint a story of global skullduggery, Rome prosecutor Paolo Ferri says. The thousands of Polaroids depict how Greek pottery and Roman statues looted from 2,000-year-old tombs in Italy made their way to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

At the journey’s end, convicted Roman antiquities trafficker Giacomo Medici and American dealer Robert Hecht posed in front of museum cases displaying looted relics, he says.
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Italy & the looted vase in the Met

Posted at 9:04 am in Similar cases

Some more information on the case of the looted vase in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, which the Italians claim they can now prove conclusively is looted.

The Independent

Cup battle draws Italy against the US
By David Usborne in New York
Published: 31 October 2005

It stands on a plinth in a ground-floor gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, an exquisitely decorated Greek vase known as the Euphronios krater. The 2,500-year-old terracotta miracle is one of the institution’s finest and most treasured antiquities. It is also fast becoming its greatest legal and diplomatic headache.

The directors of the Met suddenly find themselves under intense fire from prosecutors in Italy, who say they have new and irrefutable evidence that the vase was looted from a tomb north of Rome and sold to the museum under false pretences. They want it back. And, while they are at it, they will take a few other things they also consider to have been stolen.
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October 29, 2005

Is the importance of ancient art through its beauty or its provenance?

Posted at 4:07 pm in Similar cases

When people think of a piece of art, the first thing that they generally think of is its appearance. The appearance alone is not what gives the art its value though.
If a (visually) identical copy was produced, would it have the same value as the original? In a few isolated cases it might, but generally the value comes from the story behind the piece – its provenance. Provenance has become more important in recent years, as it also defines the legality of the owner’s entitlement to the piece. How was it acquired & when was it acquired? If it can not be proved that it was originally acquired legally from a archaeological site, then the piece can not easily be traded on the open market. Institutions might want to turn a blind eye to this, but the problem is still there, as evidenced by the current troubles faced by the Getty.
If you want to find out more about the issues associated with unprovenanced antiquities, then the journal of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre, Culture Without Context is one of the best places to start.

International Herald Tribune

Beauty or provenance: Which counts more?
By Souren Melikian International Herald Tribune

LONDON Collectors of antiquities from the ancient world and the dealers who cater to their needs have been reading the writing on the wall for some time. The Unesco Unidroit convention has changed the ballgame once and for all, even if very few countries have signed it. Gone are the good old days when you bought, without asking questions, any sculpture and pot dug up from an underground cache or any fragment removed from some field of ancient ruins.
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October 28, 2005

Italy has proof that Metropolitan Museum vase was looted

Posted at 4:57 pm in Similar cases

Italian authorities have long claimed that the Euphronios krater vase in New York’s Metropolitan Museum was looted. Italian prosecutors now believe that they have irrefutable proof that the artefact was illegally acquired. The memoirs of Robert E. Hecht Jr. (the art dealer who sold the piece to the Met) state that he acquired the vase from Giacomo Medici, who was last year convicted of trafficking looted art. This story is different to the explanation that was given by Hecht in a memo previously.

Los Angeles Times

October 28, 2005
Italy Says It’s Proven Vase at Met Was Looted
By Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, Times Staff Writers

ROME — In their decade-long investigation of the illicit antiquities trade, Italian authorities have amassed the strongest evidence to date that the most prized ancient Greek vase in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art was looted.

The Euphronios krater, described as one of the finest antiquities ever obtained by the Met, has been a source of controversy since the museum acquired it 33 years ago.
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Papandreou discusses Elgin Marbles with London mayor

Posted at 4:48 pm in Elgin Marbles

George Papandreou (current leader of PASOK, the main Greek opposition party) has been in London discussing various issues with Ken Livingstone (the elected mayor of London), including the return of the Elgin Marbles. Ken Livingstone has previously indicated that he strongly supports the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece.

Macedonian Press Agency

28th October 2005
Papandreou meets London Mayor Ken Livingstone

LONDON (ANA – L. Tsirigotakis) Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met London Mayor Ken Livingstone during a visit to the British capital on Thursday. They discussed the Olympic Truce, the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and cooperation in local government and education issues.
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Ethiopia recovers more looted artefacts

Posted at 4:42 pm in Similar cases

An announcement was made earlier this week, that Ethiopia has reached an agreement for the tenth major artefact to be returned to the country since 2001. Ethiopia’s success in securing the restitution of such items is giving hope to many other African countries that have lost important pieces of the heritage, such as the Benin Bronzes & the Ashanti Gold.

Angola Press

Luanda – Friday, October 28, 2005 – 4:13:21 PM
Ethiopia slowly recovers plundered artefacts

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10/26 – A 16th century soldier`s helmet stolen from Ethiopia by invading British troops nearly 140 years ago will be returned to the country on Saturday, official sources confirmed here Wednesday.

This will be the 10th major piece of plunder that has been handed back to Ethiopia since 2001 when a Scottish priest returned a sacred Tabot (or holy altar slab), also taken in the Battle of Magdala in 1868.
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October 26, 2005

Acropolis museum headed for completion

Posted at 1:10 pm in New Acropolis Museum

More information on the progress in the construction of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Middle East Times (Egypt)

Acropolis museum headed for completion
October 26, 2005

ATHENS — Construction of Greece’s new Acropolis museum, which has dragged on for four years, will be finished by the end of 2006, deputy culture minister Petros Tatoulis said in a statement on Tuesday.

In June, after an unannounced visit to the site at the foot of the famous Athens landmark, Tatoulis outlined the delays in the project and called on the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum (OANMA) to accelerate the works.
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Acropolis Museum rising

Posted at 1:01 pm in New Acropolis Museum

After delays over the summer, a new contractor has been appointed for the construction of the New Acropolis Museum, which is now proceeding again.

Kathimerini English Edition

Wednesday October 26, 2005
Acropolis Museum rising
Will be completed by the end of 2006, says deputy culture minister

A worker on the construction site of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens directs a crane yesterday as the temple of the Parthenon can be seen in the background. The government said that the 20,000-square-meter glass-and-concrete museum will display sculptures and other finds from the 2,500-year-old Acropolis temples. The building, scheduled to be completed before the end of 2006, is designed to withstand the many earthquakes that shake the capital every year.
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Greece calls for Getty to return artefacts

Posted at 12:52 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Another article that adds a few additional details on the Greek request for the return of looted artefacts held by the Getty.

BBC News

Greece demands ‘stolen artefacts’
Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK

Greece is renewing calls for the return of artefacts from Los Angeles’ J Paul Getty Museum it claims were stolen, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The request follows the museum’s agreement to return three antiquities to Italy that were allegedly stolen.
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Greece demands the return of ‘stolen’ artefacts by Getty

Posted at 12:50 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Following the Italian indictment of Getty curator Marion True, there have been various other related problems at the museum. The latest issue is that the Greek Government has now demanded that the museum returns four artefacts that were acquired illegally.

The Independent

26 October 2005 13:29
Greece seeks return of ‘looted’ works from Getty
By Nikolas Zirganos and Elinda Labropoulou
Published: 26 October 2005

The J. Paul Getty Museum, already embroiled in a dispute with Italy over looted art, now faces demands by Greece over the return of allegedly stolen antiquities.

Greece has backed its claims by presenting archaeological evidence proving the Greek origin of three items ranking among the masterpieces of the Getty’s antiquities collection. A gold funerary wreath, an inscribed tombstone and a marble torso were all purchased in 1993. The fourth item, an archaic votive relief, was bought in 1955 by the museum’s founder, J. Paul Getty himself.
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October 22, 2005

British Museum director on why the Elgin Marbles should stay

Posted at 12:13 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

As part of an interview in the Guardian today, the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor discusses why he feels that the Parthenon Marbles should remain in Britain. He argues that they are a part of a story that is not just a national one for the Greeks – this may well be the case, but surely it is still an international story that has more relevance for the Greeks than it does for anyone else? Moreover, wouldn’t the story make more sense if it was all in one place rather than split in half?

The Guardian

A private view
Stuart Jeffries meets British Museum director Neil MacGregor
Saturday October 22, 2005
The Guardian

Neil MacGregor gives the lie to Richard Sennett’s argument in The Fall of Public Man that those in public office nowadays are taken to be honest only if they are prepared to tell everyone their every peccadillo. Competence in public office is, Sennett argues, measured by incontinent disclosure rather than by being good at what you do.

MacGregor, director, of the British Museum, insists he is different. “One’s private life is so tragically uninteresting,” he wails in his office, in the museum’s west wing, when pressed on this. “You might imagine that there is this whole pulsating, scabrous existence going on that is kept from the public gaze.” It would make my job easier if you could pony up something lurid sharpish. “Sadly it’s not very interesting, but that’s another saga. The role of the director of a national museum is to be a public servant. There’s a great danger of confusing this with elected office. I’m paid by the public to do a public job, and the job should be scrutinised. It does sound awfully prissy, but I believe in it.”
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October 20, 2005

Future of Elgin Marbles is not cast in stone

Posted at 12:46 pm in Elgin Marbles

An article by Anthony Snodgrass prior to his lecture this evening in Edinburgh, about the reasons for reunification of the Elgin Marbles.

The Scotsman

Thu 20 Oct 2005
Future of Marbles is not cast in stone
Anthony Snodgrass

Many people know that the so-called “Elgin Marbles” in the British Museum are separated, by a long distance, from the Parthenon in Athens to which they belonged.

What is less well-known is that a roughly equal proportion of the sculptures of the Parthenon are still in Athens: there are the pieces which Lord Elgin decided, for various reasons, to leave behind; and there are the pieces which he simply missed because they were still buried in the ground, but which came to light later. These pieces make an interesting comparison with the sculptures in London: in some respects, they are in better shape today.
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