Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Princeton Statement: the Numbers

David Gill reports that Princeton has at last released a statement about the return last month of some objects from its collections to Italy ('Princeton University Art Museum, Italy reach new antiquities agreement' The Trustees of Princeton University). Gill notes that the statement issued on behalf of this new Jersey university on behalf of the Trustees of teh Art Museum is lacking somewhat in details, but what struck me was the wy the number of objects acquired/relinquished was portrayed:

Under the agreement, six works were returned to the Republic of Italy in December 2011 [...] a black-glazed askos; a pair of f statuettes; four fragments of a red-figure calyx krater; fragments of an architectural relief; a pithos in white-on-red style; and a group of fragmentary architectural revetments

Meanwhile, what is more revealing about the sort of things the 'art museum' has been buying for its "research and teaching" and gives a better idea of the scale of the return:
tra cui un askos a forma di astragalo, due statuette di donna, di cui una che suona un tamburello e l’altra la lira, un pithos a figure rosse e bianche, raffigurante animali, e 166 frammenti (quattro di un cratere a figure rosse, cinque di rilievi architettonici, un gruppo di 157 elementi architettonici con figure di tori);
Now, I can understand a need to have some hand-specimens of red figure pot fragments so the student can see the difference between it and modern flower-pot so they don't make idiots of themselves when they go out in the world with a Classics degree from Princeton, but 157 knocked-off bits of building facade?

Vignette: the facade of the Princeton University Art museum

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