|Photograph of the image of the Matisse|
painting from the Triton Foundation
stolen from the Kunsthal Rotterdam
on October 16, 2012.
May 31, 2013
May 30, 2013
May 28, 2013
|The Horses of St. Mark's (The Triamphal Quadriga)|
ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief
In Chapter 17 of Dan Brown's Inferno published May 14 by Doubleday, (and reviewed by Janet Maslin in The New York Times), the fourth book featuring Robert Langdon, the fictional Harvard University professor of religious iconography and symbology, researches the Horses of St. Mark's:
May 25, 2013
|View of the hilltop town of Amelia in Umbria|
(Photo by C. Sezgin)
May 24, 2013
May 17, 2013
|Kait Murphy (ARCA '11) in front of 10th |
at the Sackler Galleries of Art in
KM: How did you get involved in this project?
PK: I became involved while looking at another 8th century monument in the same region and noticed the goddesses were really important. Starting in 2003, I emailed museums and a bunch responded and invited me to look at their files. They would email scans of their images and I started diagramming and mapping where they all were.
KM: What is the history of the statues?
PK: The only information to go on for dating them is from their style and comparison to carved objects in northern Tamilnadu in the first 3 quarters of the 10th c. Sometime between the 10th c -19th c, the temple was broken into and each of the goddesses was damaged to some degree with features hacked off like their noses and hands. Evidence from other research shows that all other religions were afraid of this sect of Hindu tantric goddesses. This was a secret sect so most people viewing seductive powerful women were frightened and didn’t understand their message.
At some point in the early 20th century, seven goddess sculptures were salvaged and reassembled into a new temple. In 1926, a poor laborer reported to a French archeologist about interesting objects he found. This archeologist sent photos and descriptions to an art dealer back in Paris, which traced the objects directly from India to France.
Back in Paris, France, C.T. Loo was the single most important art dealer with access to Asian art. His markets were Europe and the United States. He had high standards for the works he acquired. He re-educated museums on what they needed to be buying in terms of high art. He got the museums on board and changed the collections. His goal was about the art preservation and education in addition to being a profitable businessman. Loo was behind the French archaeologist’s research in India and he paid his travel and room and board to find art. Also perhaps involved in the acquisition of these objects was the British director of the Madras Government museum. He was probably aware of the extraction and was able to retain two of the objects so that they would stay in Madras (now Chennai), India. In 1926, Loo began to sell the objects to various collectors and museums with the last one sold in 1960.
With the dispersal of the objects, the book exposes fragments along the path and helps connect the vectors to figure out where the objects were and ended up. There are still two goddesses that haven’t been found and it is thought that they are in private hands somewhere. Further research will help continue the chase. There is theft and rescue in this story but there is no separation between the good and bad guys. The same people were acting with motives we admire as well as those we deplore. The goddesses will always be somewhere else, even if they are some day repatriated to India. All trace of their original home has been lost.
KM: What is the status of the project?
PK: I am continuing to travel around to the different museums I went to for the research where the statues are located. Now some of these museums want me to return to share with their communities the stories of these objects on permanent display. But they are displayed by themselves and have lost their context.
One of my current projects is to go to each museum and re-contextualize the objects for curators and communities and those who support their museums. I want them to be on board and know they have amazing objects. Since government funding is disappearing and museums rely more on local buy in, that education is important.
Some places identify the museums as the bad guys in cultural property theft appropriation, which is an unfortunate tendency of the blame game. Museums are the last stop and we have to think about the whole chain of transport and extraction as well as the museums themselves. How do we support the museum’s responsibility and their response to the histories? We need to support them so they take care of the objects. We also need to convince them to tell the journey of objects in the display. Adding photographs and describing the long road of their history are important factors in leading to a reunion.
KM: What's next?
PK: I will continue to speak to museums as long as they want me and I would be happy to help to broker some trades to begin to reunite the objects. Each museum has one or a few object from various sites. It may be possible to facilitate some switches to reassemble the goddesses in an historical recreation. When you see these goddesses with each other, it is very exciting and they mean something different together than apart. They are variations on a theme and share the same basic physical format but with different objects in hand, seated on platforms, different hair and eyes. When the pattern emerges, it makes clear that visualizing Shakti, feminine force/power, was the part of the intent of the artists.
The Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art in Washington DC, have put together an exhibition on yoga as a tantric practice which will open this October 2013. Kaimal is a consultant on which sculptures might join the Sackler Gallery’s Kanchipuram yogini. The exhibition will be open October 19, 2013 through January 26, 2014.
Details on the exhibit can be found: http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/future.asp
May 15, 2013
THE National Museum of Scotland and National War Museum will be closed until lunchtime tomorrow as part of a three-day strike over pay and pensions. Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union began the series of strikes yesterday with staff from the justice sector. They will be joined today by staff from the two museums which has led to the early closures.
A museum spokesman apologised for any inconvenience caused to visitors and said all of its museums would be open as normal from Thursday. He said: “Due to anticipated industrial action this week, the of Scotland and the National War Museum will be closing at 1pm today, and will not re-open until 1.30pm on Wednesday.
“The Tower Restaurant will remain open and access will be via the Tower entrance of the National Museum of Scotland as usual. The National Museum of Flight and the National Museum of Rural Life remain open.”
The PCS began a campaign of industrial action on March 20, the day Chancellor George Osborne announced the Budget.
The slim volume gives a short history of forgery and fraud in the wine world, before going on to detail two short case studies covering two of the best known alleged fine wine fraudsters of recent times: Hardy Rodenstock and Rudy Kurniawan. It also functions as a guide with practical tips and a checklist of actions on how to avoid becoming a victime of counterfeit wine. The book comes at a time when collector awareness and press interest in the subject of fraud has never been higher, after series of high-profile legal cases.The ebook The Wine Forger's Handbook was published in March and can be ordered at Amazon.com.
Here's a link to a post on the ARCA blog about the FBI's investigation into wine fraud.
May 12, 2013
The film will screen at the Denver Art Museum at 7 p.m. this Friday (May 17):
Come to a riveting and humorous documentary film about Vincent Peruggia, the man who stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, his 84-year-old daughter who thought he did it for patriotic reasons, and the filmmaker who spent more than 30 years trying to find the truth. Written and produced by Joe Medeiros, former head writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, this documentary combines historical photographs, animation and interviews with Peruggia’s descendants to examine how an unassuming housepainter from Italy pulled off “the greatest little-known heist in modern time.” The producers will be present for Q&A after the film.
|Joe Medeiros, writer/director, and |
Justine Medeiros, producer.
May 11, 2013
|John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)|
Painting of William Ponsonby,
Second Earl of Bessborough, 1790
Art detectives say long-lost works like the Copley are increasingly turning up after going missing for decades, thanks in large part to readily available information on the Internet or in electronic databases. The trend is feeding hopes of art fans that the prized pieces taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 23 years ago could eventually surface as well.
Though the vast majority of missing artwork is never recovered, stolen items are often discovered when they change hand, sometimes many years later, when brokers and buyers research the pieces online and through databases, according to brokers and others in the business.
“We’ve got recoveries happening every week,” said Christopher A. Marinello, an attorney for the Art Loss Register of London, which maintains an international database of more than 360,000 stolen, looted, disputed, or missing works around the world, including 1,000 from Massachusetts and hundreds of pieces from Harvard alone.
“It’s not that unusual to find artwork that has been lost for more than a quarter of a century,” Marinello said. “The valuable pieces either are recovered right away, or they go underground for a generation.”
May 10, 2013
May 8, 2013
Silver recovered from the World War II-era SS Gairsoppa shipwreck, which lies approximately three miles deep, will be on display. This is the first public showing of some of the 1,218 silver bars (approximately 48 tons) of silver recovered to date from the Gairsoppa, which is the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metal from a shipwreck in history.
In addition to the Gairsoppa silver, Odyssey is expanding the SHIPWRECK! Treasure Room to include a large selection of never-before-displayed coins from both the SS Republic and the “Tortugas” shipwrecks.
The majority of the silver recovered in 2012 from the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck was sold in the quarter with fourth quarter proceeds of $30.1 million to Odyssey ($17.8 million of this was credited in third quarter to expenses as recoupment of project costs).
May 7, 2013
|Lion Attacking a Horse in the atrium at the Getty Villa|
(Photo by Catherine Sezgin)
This is the first time the sculpture has been on public display since 1925 and the first time it has left Rome in 2,000 years.
Depicting the figure of a fallen horse succumbing to the claws and fangs of a ferocious lion, the monumental group dates to the early Hellenistic period (the late 4th century B.C.), when Greek sculptors began to produce naturalistic portrayals of intense emotion and physical exertion.
Although the original location of the sculpture is unknown, its massive scale and dramatic carving suggest that it embellished a monument in northern Greece or Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Created in the era of Alexander the Great’s conquest of Asia, the sculpture may have formed part of a larger composition with a melee of wild beasts and mounted hunters, which commemorated the young king’s famous lion-hunting exploits at Sidon (present-day Lebanon) in 332 B.C. and a royal game preserve in Basista (present-day Uzbekistan) in 328–327 B.C.
Close-up of Lion (Photo by C. Sezgin)
The sculpture was eventually brought to Rome, most likely as war booty seized by a victorious general for display in the imperial capital. It was ultimately discovered in the streambed near the Circus Maximus, a stadium used for chariot races, gladiatorial games, and animal combats. The work was first mentioned in an archival document in 1300.
|Backside of 4th century BC Greek marble (Photo by Sezgin)|
By 1347, the sculpture was prominently displayed on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, the seat of the city’s civic administration. During this time, Renaissance Rome was experiencing a great rebirth of interest in its glorious ancient past, which served as a model for the present. Remains of antiquity, such as Lion Attacking a Horse, were among the earliest expressions of the Renaissance spirit.
The work was initially installed on the staircase of the Palazzo Senatorio in the Piazza del Campidoglio on the Capitoline Hill. Presiding over an area used for pronouncing judicial sentences since antiquity, this powerful image of domination and retribution served as a symbol of Rome for over a century. In 1471 Pope Sixtus IV transferred a group of ancient bronze sculptures, including the famous statue of a she-wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus, from the Lateran Palace to the Piazza del Campidoglio, as reminders of “ancient excellence and virtue.” Mounted on the facade of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, the she-wolf replaced the lion-and-horse image as the emblem of Rome. Lion Attacking a Horse was moved to various places on the Capitoline until it was eventually installed in the center of a fountain in the Caffarelli Garden in 1925.This statue was loaned to the Getty by the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale - Musei Capitolini with funding provided by the Knights of Colombus and the J. Paul Getty Museum's Villa Council.