Cleveland Museum of Art Returns

Getting a smattering of coverage this past week was the announcement that the Cleveland Museum of Art would be returning 14 items (13 from the period within our purview) to Italy which were considered to be of dubious origin. In return, the CMoA will be receiving a loan of items of similar value. There don’t seem to be many photos of the items, but this red figure askos is one of my faves:

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

An excerpt from the coverage in the Plain Dealer:

Italian authorities used evidence collected in a police raid in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1995, which exposed a network of “tombaroli,” or tomb robbers, who passed the works to middlemen who sold them to museums.

Among the most significant objects being returned to Italy from Cleveland is a fourth-century B.C. Apulian red-figured volute krater — a large wine vessel — by the Dorias painter, which stands roughly 4 feet high.

Other works include Etruscan silver bracelets; a Neolithic bronze warrior from Sardinia; an Attic rhyton, or drinking vessel, in the shape of a mule; and a large, Corinthian-column krater.

Rub said the condition of the objects was inspected both by Italian and museum officials Tuesday before they were crated and sealed for transfer today.

The museum turned down requests from The Plain Dealer to observe and photograph the packing of the artworks, in part out of concern for security and in part because museum views the transfer as less important than the agreement reached with Italy last fall.

“I look upon this as a kind of mechanical thing,” Rub said. “The big news for me was the signing of the agreement.”

Of equal (or perhaps greater) interest is a little excerpt tucked into a sidebar photo:

The Cleveland Museum ofArt and Italy have created a joint committee to examine the museum’s “Victory with Cornucopia (Chariot Attachment),” purchased in 1984, plus a large bronze statue of Apollo Sauroktonos, or “Lizard Slayer,” to determine whether the works were looted in violation of modern laws.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about that.

As always in such things, David Gill’s  blogposts should be consulted:

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