July 14, 2013

BBC's Amanda Ruggeri: Exhibit in Rome showing recovered objects of stolen cultural property on display at Castel Sant'Angelo until November 5

Exhibition banner outside Castel Sant'Angelo
(Photo by Catherine Sezgin)
Here's a link to a BBC article by Amanda Ruggeri ("See the story behind the stolen treasures") on the exhibit at the National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome exhibiting objects of stolen cultural property recovered by Italy. Capolavori dell'archaeologia: Recuperi, ritrovamenti, confronti (Masterpieces of archaeology: Recovery, findings, comparisons) will be open until November 5, 2013 (closed every Monday).

Items include large pieces of a 1st Century BC Pompei villa fresco recovered from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu; the head and extremities of a Morgantina acrolith recovered from the University of Virginia's Art Museum; and the Euphronios krater recovered from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ms. Ruggeri writes:
The exhibition, which includes dozens of works of art, serves as a sobering reminder of how widespread and damaging looting in Italy has been. One display points out that when an item is looted, the problem isn’t just that it risks disappearing into the hands of a private collector, winding up abroad or being damaged. (One popular way to transport looted vases, for example, is to deliberately break them into shards and reconstruct them later, as fragments are easier to hide and move.) The irreversible loss is the item’s context. Without knowing where the piece was found, at what depth, or near which other objects, it is all but impossible to fully reconstruct the piece’s history, use and meaning.

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