Repatriation Winter 2015


1.ROME (AFP).- A hugely valuable painting believed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci has been seized from a Swiss bank on the orders of Italian police who suspect it was moved out of the country illegally. Italian prosecutors said Tuesday that the painting, a portrait of Renaissance noblewoman Isabella d'Este, had been seized from a vault in Lugano, near the Italian border.
More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/76387/Leonardo-da-Vinci-painting--about-to-be-sold-for--135-million--seized-at-Swiss-bank#.VNu3R_nF9CY[/url]
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2. MADRID (AFP).- Over 2,200 looted artefacts, many from ancient Egypt, were seized as part of a Europe-wide crackdown that also snared 35 suspected traffickers, Europol announced Wednesday.  Among the most valuable of the recovered cultural items was a majestic bust of Egyptian goddess Sekhmet worth an estimated 100,000 euros ($113,000), said Spanish police Captain Javier Morales, an expert in historic objects.
   The Egyptian treasures were recovered as part of an operation launched in 14 countries to prevent the further looting, theft and illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts. The 36 stolen items Spanish police showed to the press, which included a statue of the goddess Isis and a vase covered in hieroglyphics, were alone worth up to 300,000 euros.
More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/76069/2-200-pillaged-artefacts--many-from-ancient-Egypt--seized-in-European-crackdown-#.VNUNBJ3F9CY[/url]
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3. Ai Weiwei “Zodiac” sculptures on tour to promote awareness of contested cultural heritage. Few contemporary artists are more socially and politically conscious than Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei. His world views are often expressed in his work, which has become his most powerful means of communication now that the Chinese government has curtailed his attempts at free speech. He was once a celebrated artist and architect in his country and arguably still is. However, he ran afoul of authorities after criticizing the government’s handling of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the massive earthquakes in Sichuan Province that same year.
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4. ATHENS (AFP).- Greece on Friday blasted the British Museum's unprecedented loan of one of the Elgin Marbles -- Greek sculptures also known as the Parthenon Marbles that Athens wants returned to Greece -- to a Russian museum. "The British Museum's decision constitutes an affront to the Greek people," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a statement. The London museum said it had loaned
one of the statues -- taken from the Parthenon temple in Athens by British diplomat Lord Elgin in 1803 -- to Russia's State Hermitage Museum.
More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/74867/Greece-protests-British-Museum-s-unprecedented-loan-of-Elgin-Marbles-to-Russia#.VNUtWJ3F9CY[/url]
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5. JERUSALEM.- Today (Sunday) an indictment was handed up against antiquities robbers who tried to loot Dead Sea scrolls from the Judean Desert. This comes in the wake of a dramatic capture carried out last weekend by inspectors of the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery of the Israel Antiquities Authority, with the assistance of the Arad Rescue Unit. The apprehension of the robbers was part of a complex operation to locate the Dead Sea scroll robbers, which lasted more than a year.
More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/74924/In-a-dramatic-operation-on-the-cliffs-of-the-Judean-Desert--Antiquities-robbers-caught-red-handed#.VNUsw53F9CY[/url]
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6. ATHENS (AFP).- Turkey on Saturday announced its support for Greece's fight to get back from Britain the famous Elgin Marbles -- ancient Greek sculptures also known as the Parthenon Marbles which were taken from Athens in the 19th century. The dispute over the British Museum's possession of the sculptures, taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin in 1803, flared this week when Greece learned of the unprecedented loan of one sculpture to a Russian museum. The surprising support from Turkey, historically a rival of Greece and currently an opponent over the situation in divided Cyprus, came during a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Athens.
More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/74891/Greece-s-fight-for-Elgin-Marbles-gets-backing-from-rival-Turkish-Prime-Minister-Ahmet-Davutoglu#.VNUvWZ3F9CY[/url]
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7. ROME (AFP).- The Italian government on Wednesday said police had seized more than 5,000 ancient artefacts in a record 45-million-euro haul after dismantling a Swiss-Italian trafficking ring. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said it was the country's "largest discovery yet" of looted works
and consisted of 5,361 pieces, including vases, jewellery, frescoes and bronze statues, all dating from the 8th century BC to the 3rd century AD.
More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/75937/Italian-government-seizes-more-than-5-000-looted-antiquities-in-record-45-million-euro-haul#.VN5cGvnF9CY[/url]
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8. Laws regulating the import and export of important cultural objects will be revamped following a series of acquisition scandals. Attorney general George Brandis has announced a review of the laws less than a week after the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) established an independent
examination of provenance issues surrounding 54 items in its Asian art collection. Earlier in 2014, the NGA returned to India a 900-year-old dancing Shiva statue that turned out to be stolen. More Information: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/23/import-export-cultural-objects-acquisition-scandals-shiva

9. NEW YORK (AFP).- US authorities Tuesday handed back to Italy an 18th century painting and ancient Etruscan bronze statuette at a ceremony in New York, decades after they were stolen. The painting, "The Holy Trinity Appearing to Saint Clement," is attributed to artist Giambattista Tiepolo and the bronze of Greek god Herakles dates from the 6th or 5th century BC. The Tiepolo was stolen from a private home in the Italian city of Turin in 1982, resurfacing at a New York auction in January 2014, when it was seized by the FBI. The statuette was stolen from a museum in the Italian coastal town of Pesaro in 1964 and was eventually discovered when it was offered for sale by an auction house in Manhattan, where it was also seized by the FBI. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/76714/US-returns-stolen-artwork--The-Holy-Trinity-Appearing-to-Saint-Clement--to-Italy#.VPo9BlPF9oE[/url]
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