Friday, 20 October 2017

Found: A Mosaic From Caligula’s Ceremonial Ship, Turned Into a Coffee Table

Sarak Laskon outlines the sort of 'respect' collectors pay to artefacts while 'preserving and displaying' them in their homes. ('Found: A Mosaic From Caligula’s Ceremonial Ship, Turned Into a Coffee Table It’s now being sent back to Italy', Atlas Obscura Oct 20, 2017). Antiques dealer Helen Fioratti acquired a mosaic '45 years ago', it turns out that they has bought an item stolen from the excavations of an elaborately decorated ceremonial ship from the reign of Caligula in the first century A.D. that had been excavated in the 1920s. The mosaic should have been housed in the Ships of Nemi Museum since 1936 but from which it was provbably taken in World War II. The item was bought in the 19660s 'from a family of aristocrats' (anonymous in the articles about this case):
The mosaic, they told her, had been found in Lake Nemi, nearby the family’s home, in the 19th century. She spent thousands of dollars to buy it from them, shipped it to New York, and had it turned into a coffee table, which sat in her Upper East Side apartment for years. In the past months, though, the Italian military police’s Art Recovery Unit and New York’s district attorney office have been working to repatriate stolen Italian art, and the mosaic caught their attention. (It’s not clear exactly how.) 
Now wait a moment. You are an 'antiques dealer', though trading in over-the-top Donald Trump -Rococo  but the name 'Lake Nemi' means nothing to you? Really? and 'found IN Lake Nemi' also? Really? I guess that may be taken to imply that you do not really have to have much of a grounding in art history to become an art dealer in the USA.

The artefact was recovered when the owners bragged about their stuff (Claudio Lavanga, Saphora Smith, 'Artifact From Caligula’s Ship Found to Be a Coffee Table in New York Apartment ' NBC news Oct 20th 2017):
While the art dealer said she didn’t know how the Italian police became aware of the artifact she wondered if they had seen it in a magazine shoot of their apartment. “We had our apartment featured a long time ago in Architectural Digest and I’m sure there was a photograph of the table in front of the sofa,” she said.[...] But the widow said she was saddened to lose the piece. “I don’t know if anyone is going to see it as much as they did in my place. I had people who were interested in antiquities admiring it in my home all the time. Now it will be in a museum with a lot of other things,” she said.
Which is where the plebs like you or I will see it, and not in some elitist private apartment in New York.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.