Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Cleveland's Got Prized South Italian Medea Vase

Cleveland's Got The Prized South Italian Medea Vase


By Suzan Mazur


Image Source - www.theoi.com

After an online search for the whereabouts of the fabulous "Medea in Flight" vase featured in my recent story about artifacts Italy wants back from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, it appears that the Red-figure Calyx Krater, 5th/early 4th Century BC is now in the Cleveland Musuem collection. Once part of Bunker Hunt's hoard, it was auctioned at Sotheby's in June 1990 along with the signed Euphronios vase and wine cup, and sold above estimates for $360,000 (plus tax).

The Medea was acquired by Hunt from Bruce McNall via Bob Hecht. Hecht is now on trial in Rome charged with antiquities trafficking. He secured the bulk of the pieces Hunt-Sotheby's put on the block via Giacomo Medici.

Medici's appeal regarding a 10-year sentence for antiquities trafficking will be heard next month in Rome.

In my interview with Boston MFA longtime curator of classical art, Cornelius Vermeule, just prior to the Hunt-Sotheby's auction, Vermeule expressed his desire for the Medea telling me, "I'd kill for [lot] number 14."

It is unclear where the vase has been over the past decade and a half. The Cleveland Museum web page indicates the catalogue number for the Medea has yet to be announced. But there is no question about it being a show stopper.



The vase details the final scene from Euripedes' Medea with Medea fleeing in a chariot drawn by crested serpents, following the murder of her own children for fear they would be enslaved or killed as a result of her murder of her husband Jason's new wife. She is dressed in an ornate robe and Phyrgian tassled helmet, the chariot surrounded by a "solar mandorla".

If the Medea vase is not on the Italian prosecutors' list of looted pieces, it probably should be. The vase had no provenance before Hunt and Sotheby's.

*************

Suzan Mazur's stories on art and antiquities have been published in The Economist, Financial Times, Connoisseur, Archaeology (cover) and Newsday. Some of her other reports have appeared on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and various Fox Television News programs. Email: sznmzr @ aol.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Resignation Of Metiria Turei: Were Journalists 'just Doing Their Job'?

In our research we examined the role of journalism in animating the Turei controversy and the different perceptions of professional journalists and online commentators sympathetic to Turei’s left politics. ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Extradition Of Julian Assange

It isn’t necessary to like Julian Assange to think that his extradition to the US (on the charge of aiding and abetting Chelsea Manning) would be a major injustice... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Islamic State Meets The Searchers

The histories of the European children forcibly recruited into Native American tribal life during the 19th century do remind us of just how difficult the social re-integration of the children of ISIS is likely to be. More>>

Joseph Cederwall: CJR Analysis Of Post-Christchurch Media Coverage

After the Christchurch massacre, Columbia Journalism Review analysed news sources to see how outlets complied with guidelines from groups that seek to limit the amplification of terrorist acts through media. More>>

News Deserts: The Death March Of Local Journalism

Joseph Cederwall: The corporate media sector seems unable to do anything to halt the raging dumpster fire of consolidation, layoffs and centralisation of content production. All this means we are increasingly seeing ‘news deserts’ appearing in local communities. Illustration by Paul Sahre. More>>

ALSO: