Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

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.

Getty to Return Roman Fresco to Italy

April 10, 2009

 The J. Paul Getty Museum will be returning a 1st Century B.C. fresco wall fragment to Italy. The fresco, which depicts a scene of stylized classical buildings within window frames and columns, was originally received as a gift from Barbara and Lawrence Fleishman in 1996.

Under Italian law, all antiquities found on Italian soil are the property of the state and may not be privately owned. The Getty’s decision to return the fresco fragment was apparently made about a year ago. At that time the Italian Ministry of Culture had published an image of the Getty fresco in catalogue which suggested that the piece was part of a larger work, fragments of which had previously been returned to Italy.  Getty Director Michael Brand said that “Seeing these fragments together made it clear that the two were part of the same wall design and belonged together.”   One of the other fresco fragments cited in the catalogue had also been owned by the Fleishmans at one time. Another was owned by collector Shelby White.  The Getty fresco will return to Italy in May.

The original context of the fresco group remains unknown, perhaps underlining the type of historic and cultural information that is lost when such objects are removed without documentation or some type of official oversight, regardless of the legality or illegality of the act at the time. The Getty fresco has been described as a fantasy landscape and may have once been a part of an elaborately decorated room within a Roman villa such as those found within sites in Pompeii or Herculaneum. (Above, example of frescoed walls in context, Villa della Fontana Picola, Pompeii).

Getty to Return Fresco Fragment to Italy, LA Times 

The Getty Museum’s Statement


Rescued Frescoes (Domus Valeriorum, Rome), Archeology