Getty Museum bought a marble sarcophagus of the 3d century AD

Sarcophagus with scenes of bacchanalia. Marble. 3d C. AD. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Californian Getty Museum (The J. Paul Getty Museum) has one of the best collections of works of ancient art in the North America. It enlarged its collection with marble sarcophagus with scenes of bacchanalias. Experts attribute the sarcophagus to the 3d century AD. Sum paid for it by the museum is not disclosed.

The sarcophagus is cut out from an integral piece of marble. Its cover is lost. It served as a drinking bowl for horses in the Middle Ages as the lead pipe is fixed into its bottom.

For two decades the antique collection of the Getty Museum has became one of the best in the USA, comparable with collections of Metropolitan Museum and Boston Museum of Fine Arts. But after a change of management the museum recognized that half of exhibits of ancient art (54 of 104) were purchased from «black» archeologists and buyers of stolen property.

In 2005-2007 Getty Museum was involved in largest scandal because of purchase of several exhibits at a «grey» market of antiques. After the change of management including the director and the senior curator of department of antiquity, rules of acquisition of exhibits were restricted.

Notably, internal and external investigations realized in 2004 concerning museum transactions led to a number of litigations. In Italy art dealer Jacomo Medici was convicted. He sold finds from one of villas near Naples for the sum of more than $10 000 000 to the museum.

As it was found out, the keeper of department of antique works Merion Thru participated in illegal acquisition of the marble statue, funeral stele and golden funeral wreath (total cost of the transaction $5 200 000). The Italian authorities proved that for the moment of the transaction making Merion Thru knew that objects were dug out illegally and were not subject to export from the country. One more object – an archaic relief of a temple which now comes back to Greece was purchased by the founder of the collection, the billionaire and the patron of arts Jean Paul Getty in 1955.

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Published in: on June 28, 2008 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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