Illicit Antiquities Lecture Response

The two things that I found most interesting from today’s lecture were the J. Paul Getty Museum scandal and Giacomo Medici’s illicit artifact dealing. I found the scandal of the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator Marion True being extradited to Italy for a heritage crime particularly fascinating. I decided to do a little more research on the matter. As a matter of fact, she was indicted in April 2005 by the Italian federal court on criminal charges accusing her of participating in laundering stolen artifacts through private art dealers and creating a fake paper trail. It also turns out she was later prosecuted by the Greeks as well. This scandal opened up a lot of questions about museum administration, repatriation and ethics. True was eventually dismissed because the statute of limitations expired, and she was acquitted in 2007 of charges relating to items being looted from northern Greece. The remainder of the Italian charges were dropped as well for the same reasons. Now, all of this is also connected to Giacomo Medici as he seems to have been the main “middle-man” in the illicit art market. The primary evidence for the case against Marion True came from the 1995 raid of a Swiss warehouse containing stolen artifacts. Medici was eventually arrested in 1997 and sentenced in 2004 to ten years in prison and 10 million euros. It is the largest penalty ever given out in Italy in relation to the illicit antiquities trade.

One thought on “Illicit Antiquities Lecture Response

  1. There are so many examples of heist throughout the years, for example this year in January there was one about a heist that happened at a museum in Norway, where Chinese artifacts were stolen.
    The entire heist was caught on video and you can see it here!
    http://www.bt.no/nyheter/lokalt/–Har-interessante-opplysninger-2822624.html

    The museum was home to one of Europe’s largest collection of Chinese art. It was a private collection of a Norwegian general fought with the Chinese Imperial Army. The entire heist took 90 seconds only.
    I can’t believe people would steal from a museum, the artifacts are so much safer and well taken care of in a museum than in someones home getting auctioned off to dangerous people.

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