Minneapolis museum will return looted ancient vase to Italy

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts recently announced it would return a vase to Italy “after determining that it matched a photo Italian police had seized in a crucial 1995 raid on the Swiss warehouse of Giacomo Medici, an antiquities dealer who subsequently was sentenced to eight years in prison for conspiring to sell looted artworks.”  While some museums would be loath to give up a piece such as this (such as how several countries are fighting over the Rosetta Stone), the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will be returning the vase as it was clearly obtained illegally.  The vase, dated to about 450 BCE, was thought to have been found at an archaelogical site near Rutigliano in Southern Italy, an area settled by ancient Greeks.  While the vase was the only piece they know to be a looted object, other museums and collectors had many more.  Los Angeles’s J. Paul Getty Museum eventually returned 40 pieces to Italy, “including some of the most prized pieces in its collection.”

Looted artworks winding up in museums is nothing new, but it seems many museums are doing the right thing and returning those works they know to have been looted.  Danny Anderson wrote an entry describing the looting of the Iraq National Museum and it goes to show that looting is a contemporary problem but museums and government/international agencies are working to prevent it.


Works Cited:

Boehm, Mike. “Minneapolis Museum Will Return Looted Ancient Vase to Italy – Latimes.com.” The Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times, 16 Sept. 2011. Web. 18 Sept. 2011. <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/09/ancient-greece-antiquities-getty-.html>.

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One Response to Minneapolis museum will return looted ancient vase to Italy

  1. tnfeenstra says:

    I think this is really interesting, especially considering how common it is. Several blog entries have touched on this topic that I had no idea was an issue. Having personally been to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, (it’s near my home town,) I am not surprised that they are returning it without any trouble. They have a huge collection as it is and frankly if art is to be appreciated for art’s sake, does it really matter where it is displayed?

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