Stolen Cultural Treasures on Display in Paris
Kalyx Crater with the Rape of Europa, Asteas -active in Paestum between 375 and 350 BC ©Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Paestum
It is a most unusual and diverse art exhibition for Unesco, the United Nations arm dedicated to preserving and promoting the world’s culture. On Wednesday, 31 rare artifacts and works of art – all of them stolen or illegally exported, mostly in or from Italy – went on display at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, in an exhibition called “Recovered Treasures.”
“All the objects were kidnapped at some point,” said Iñigo Martinez Möller, curator of the exhibition, in an interview. “The point of the exhibition is to show how damaging this illicit traffic can be and how original pieces can be taken apart in violent ways.”
Two 15th-century panels painted by Bernardino Fungai, for example, were ripped from an altar of the San Secondiano cathedral in Chiusi with chain saws in 1994.
The show seems aimed less at promoting art appreciation than at drawing attention to the investigative work of the Carabinieri, the country’s paramilitary police force, which recovered the works through its cultural heritage protection unit. It also underscores the importance of the cooperation Italy has gotten from authorities in other countries, particularly Switzerland, France, the United States, Greece and Ecuador.
You can read the full article via NY Times here.
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