Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

The Evolution of Art

August 25, 2012

Although it is fundamental that new art builds upon that of the past, it is not often that we have a clear and obvious example of this with near-immediate worldwide effect. Fortuitously, a new artwork, la Nueva version de Ecce Homo de Borja (AKA Furry Jesus) demonstrates that process quite literally.  The new work was physically constructed upon the old.

Both the new and old Ecce Homo are located in the Santuario de la Misericordia in Borja, Spain.  Although the city of Borja has apparently initiated plans to attempt a “restoration” of the foundational version of Ecce Homo by Elias Garcia Martinez, an online petition (several actually) have arisen in an effort to stop the hasty removal of the nueva Ecce Homo by Cecilia Gimenez.  One petition author suggests that the new work represents a subtle criticism of the church’s theology, creationism particularly.    The work can also be interpreted as a comment upon modern copyright law.  As a conceptual piece, (nueva) Ecce Homo is not only a physical work; the act of creating the work itself is fundamental aspect of its meaning.


In Artifactum’s view, we should not rush to erase la nueva [version de] Ecce Homo.  The place of this new work in the history of art and its value to world culture should be preserved.  Please consider signing the petition:

Additional coverage:

Huffington Post

New York Times

The Colbert Report


Marion True Trial Over; Judge Rules Statute of Limitations Expired

October 13, 2010

The trial of former Getty curator Marion True is apparently over.  The Los Angeles Times reported today that Italian judges halted True’s trial on Wednesday, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired on the criminal charges.  True was charged in 2005 with conspiring to loot Italian antiquities.

Co-defendants in the case have not (yet) had a similar result.  Giacomo Medici was convicted and the limitations on Robert Hecht’s charges do not expire for several months.

True’s trial was apparently discontinued prior to any conclusive finding of fact by the judges.  However, the profile of the charges and the trial brought greater attention to Italy’s determination to halt the illegal looting and trafficking of its antiquities. In consideration of today’s decision, there is a question about how this type of result might affect future prosecutions.

[Rome:  Charges against Marion True are dismissed by the court]

Italy Initiates Investigation of Illegally Exported Antiquities; American Museum Collections Implicated Again

June 7, 2010

Italy appears to be extending recovery efforts for illegally exported antiquities.  The New York Times reports that Princeton University curator Michael Padgett is the focus of a new criminal investigation in Rome.  The charges involve allegations of illegally exporting numerous looted antiquities from Italy, including portions of a calyx krater attributed to Euphronios.

A New York based antiquities dealer, Edoardo Almagià is also apparently named in the charges.

Because of Mr. Padgett and Mr. Almagià’s involvement in certain transactions involving antiquities originating from Italy, a number of high profile American museums may also be implicated in the case including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Additional Resources:

Princeton University Museum of Art, Ancient and Islamic Art Collection

Image of Euphronios krater fragment in the Princeton collection.

Euphronios works at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Above, detail of a Euphronios work from the Louvre collection.

A New View of the Hill – the Acropolis Museum Sets to Open

June 18, 2009

The Acropolis Museum in Athens, originally planned to open 5 years ago, is now scheduled to open this Saturday, June 20th.  The museum was designed, in part, as a statement about the ongoing dispute over the marble sculptures that were removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin some 200 years ago.  The sculptures, also known as the Elgin marbles, are currently held in the British Museum and their return has been long sought by Greece.  The Parthenon marbles have been emblematic of the dispute between countries whose cultural objects were either or taken or sold in the past, and those countries who retain the objects now.

In an interesting development, an offer made by the British Museum to loan the sculptures to the Acropolis Museum was rejected.  An acceptance of the offer apparently would have involved acknowledgement of the British Museum as the legal owner of the disputed sculptures.  

Greece Rejects British Museum’s Terms for Elgin Marbles Loan (Bloomberg)

New Acropolis Museum to Open Next Month

Images:  The New Acropolis Museum (NY Times)

The Acropolis Museum (official site):

French Court, Bodies: Indecent

April 21, 2009

Reuters reports that a French judge has ordered the closure of the “Bodies” exhibit in Paris, ruling that it is indecent under French law. The Bodies exhibit, which consists of plastinated and rearranged actual human remains is considered by many to be an art exhibition and by others, a science display.   The exhibition has been widely viewed in the United States and venues include New York City and Las Vegas.

The organizer of the Bodies exhibition in France, Pascal Bernardin, says that he intends to appeal the ruling. Bernadin specifically described the exhibition as not an art show, but rather, characterized it as educational.   The French title of the exhibition translates as “Our Body.”

One avenue of public concern over the Bodies exhibition is related to unsubstantiated rumors that the remains included in the show may be those of executed Chinese prisoners, for whom consent would appear to be unlikely. This has not been confirmed, and the French judge did not make a statement on this issue in the ruling.

Judge Louis-Marie Raingeard is quoted as saying that according to the law, “a [dead] body should be in a cemetery.”  As reflected in the judge’s statement, the law at issue may force French museums to remove all human body parts from display, including ancient mummified remains.


French court says body show indecent, closes it  

Bodies, the Exhibition, official website  

(Above right, image detail of the Bodies website)