October 30, 2005
And now the Euphronios Krater
Perhaps it was only a matter of time, but now the Italians are setting their sights on New York:
The directors of the Met suddenly find themselves under intense fire from prosecutors in Italy, who say they have new and irrefutable evidence that the vase was looted from a tomb north of Rome and sold to the museum under false pretences. They want it back. And, while they are at it, they will take a few other things they also consider to have been stolen. . .From tomorrow's Independent. From what I've read to date, the Greek claims against the Getty aren't nearly as strong as those of the Italians -- the votive relief bought by Getty himself in the '50s excepted.
In addition to the vase, the Italians are reportedly pursuing six other items in its antiquities collection as well as eight items in the private collection of Shelby White, a New York philanthropist who is also a member of the Met's board of directors.
I also question the Getty's tactics (not to mention their bona fides) in throwing Marion True overboard. The Italians brought charges against her because she was the Getty's antiquities curator, not some sort of rogue agent. It's too late for the Getty to try to distance itself from her now; by all evidence, she's always been a loyal team player, and while the villa loan may have provided the excuse for dismissal, the overall picture remains unchanged. If True is guilty, so are her superiors and the Getty itself. It is naive in the extreme to think that offering up a scapegoat would do any more than buy the Getty a bit of time, while making the ultimate reckoning all the more evitable (mentioned without remark in the Independent article, regarding the MMA's krater: "A deposition from Ms True may help to support the Italian version of events").
Posted by David on October 30, 2005 8:23 PM