July 29, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - ,,, No comments

A Carabinieri officer, Amelia residents, and Uganda: ICAD works to provide maternity services to a mission in northern Uganda; Volunteers can attend a course on security

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, 
  ARCA Blog Editor


Luca Del Moro, an officer with the carabinieri office in Amelia, was stationed in Uganda from 2004 to 2008 — however, the hard work of Italian Catholic missionaries in this land-locked African country left an impression on him. Del More is CEO and Founder of ICAD Onlus - International Cooperation and Development Association.

This September, Del Moro will be leading the third course on security and volunteering. The course on security in countries plagued by terrorism will be held for teachers from the United Nations, universities, armies, police, and missionaries. The subjects include radio communication; personal security (working with interpreters; negotiation and communication; security risk assessment; survival skills; weapons awareness; basic first aid; basic self defence; four-wheel drive vehicles (driving, maintenance and map reading); travel, convoy and vehicle security; and Italian Embassy and crisis unit; background, history and cultural awareness; stress management; and making photo reports and interviews.

In July, Ambassador Grace Akello, Head of the Diplomatic Mission of Uganda to Rome, wrote a letter to ICAD expressing her gratitude for the organization’s participation in a promotional event for Uganda’s role at Milan EXPO held on April 27 in Rome.
My colleague Ambassadors who came to the promotional events, appreciated how your organization is helping to building practical capacities in all the areas that you are working in. This means that if ever you were to decide to move out, the people left behind would continue as normal and would not be left bereft of knowledge. Secondly, my colleagues appreciated your statement that you did not go there to change people. They saw this as expressing the right to people to manage their own lives, with your technical input, that also passes on the soft and hard technology. This way people learn from you and make their own choices on how they want to utilize this knowledge in their own communities. This is what partnership is made of. Allow me to take this opportunity to assure you of my highest esteem.
You can find out more information about ICAD through Facebook, searching under Luca Del Moro (http://www.facebook.com/luca.delmoro.33/), or ICAD Onlus (http://www.facebook.com/ICAD.org/)

Giulia Spernanzoni
Another Amelia resident, Giulia Spernanzoni, a university student studying security, traveled with ICAD Onlus to the northern part of Uganda (Karamoja) in February to follow different project and inspect the clinic which will be supplied by “tools and medicines for the benefit of the IK tribe gatherers and hunters” (ICAD).

Ms. Spernanzoni is also a member of the ICAD board. She attended the 2nd Course for Humanitarian Operators, completing both phases in Italy and in Uganda.

ICAD has focused is efforts to help new mothers and their children at a maternity center in northern Uganda. A more modern facility opened in April 2014, but ICAD is working to raise funds for other structures such as the kitchen, the toilettes, and sleeping areas. 

One of the founding members and board members in charge of ICAD, Msgr. Sandro Bigi, passed away in the middle of June, his funeral at the Duomo in Amelia closed down the town as everyone turned out to remember “his big heart and his dedication in helping his neighbors” (ICAD).

In June at the Parish of Saint Maria Maddalena of Torre Angela in Rome, ICAD held a charity dinner to raise funds needed to building a small house for the pregnant women living near the Morulem Maternity Centre (Uganda).

Next September, during the last two weekends (19-20 and 26-27) there will be the 3rd Intensive Course for Humanitarian Operators - Safe & Secure approaches in Field Environments. The cost is 250 euros, included the application and accommodation. The location is the gorgeous “La Tenuta dei Ciclamini” (www.iciclamini.it/) in Avigliano Umbro, owned by the famous Mogol. For more information write at info@icad-italy.org.

July 23, 2015

Book Review: Catherine Schofield Sezgin on "The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth" by Ben Macintyre

Catherine Schofield Sezgin reviews "The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth" by Ben Macintyre in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:

Ben Macintyre’s 1997 book, The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth is written by the journalist who pro- duced Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal, an empathetic view of a triple agent during World War II. In the preface, Macintyre explains that he found the story of Worth in the archives of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Los Angeles by chance when he saw a 1902 “fragment of a newsprint” from the Sunday Oregonian in Portland that claimed “Adam Worth, Greatest Thief of Modern Times; Stole $3,000,000.”

Macintyre explains: 
The detectives, I soon learned, had hunted Worth across the world for decades with dogged perseverance, and the result was a wealth of documentation: six complete chronological folders, tied together with string and bulging with photographs, letters, newspaper articles, and hundreds of memos by the Pinkerton detectives, each one written in meticulous copperplate and relating a tale even more intriguing and peculiar than the nameless Sunday Oregonian writer had implied.
For Adam Worth, it transpired, was for more than simply a talented crook. A professional charlatan, he was that most feared of Victorian bogeymen: the double man, the charming rascal, the respectable and civilized Dr. Jekyll by day whose villainy emerged only under cover of night. Worth made a myth of his own life, building a thick smokescreen of wealth and possessions to cover a multitude of crimes that had started with picking pockets and desertion and later expanded to include safecracking on an industrial scale, international forgery, jewel theft, and highway robbery. The Worth dossiers revealed a vivid rogues’ gallery of crooks, aristocrats, con men, molls, mobsters, and policeman, all revolving around this singular man. In minute detail the detectives described his criminal network, radi- ating out of Paris and London and stretching from Jamaica to South Africa, from America to Turkey. 
Catherine Schofield Sezgin is editor of the blog for the Association of Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) and a 2009 graduate of its certificate program in International Art Crime. 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 22, 2015

Book Review: Kirsten Hower on "America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe’s Cultural Treasures" by Michael J Kurtz

Kirsten Hower reviews Michael J. Kurtz's "America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe’s Cultural Treasures" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:

Michael J Kurtz’s book, America and the Return of Nazi Contraband, is a breath of fresh air in an often overwhelming branch of cultural heritage history. Focusing on the role that America played in the processes of protecting, recovering, and repatriating the art looted by the Nazis, Kurtz examines the struggles of the bloody quagmire that was World War II. Despite emphasizing the American role in the conflict, Kurtz is resolute in maintaining as much objectivity as possible. He tells history through the groundbreaking achievements, the mundane struggle, and the mistakes of the American restitution effort that had long-standing consequences.

Thorough in nature, Kurtz addresses the origins of wartime looting and the countermeasures from antiquity through World War I, journeying through the troubled times that would prompt the treacherous years of Nazi Germany. The main focus being World War II, Kurtz, Assistant Archivist for Record Services in Washington, D.C., delves into the topic with great detail and fervor, using in-depth archival research to tell the story of the deeply flawed paradigm that was the protection and later restitution of ..cultural objects during this period.

Of particular interest, Kurtz details the tense relationship in the quadripartite powers of the Allied countries in the process of collecting and restituting of artworks stolen by the Nazis during the war. The complications created by countries vying for the immediate return of their cultural property helped create this tense environment that was exacerbated by the secretive and uncooperative attitude of the Soviet Union. While countries such as France and Belgium clamored bitterly to get their cultural property back from the collecting points established throughout Germany, the Soviets demanded harsh reparations for the atrocities committed against their people by the Nazis. Despite the troves of cultural objects that the Soviet Trophy Brigades plundered during the collapse of the Nazi regime, they wanted more. ...
Kirsten Hower is an ARCA Postgraduate Program alum and has served as ARCA’s Social Networking Correspondent and List-Serve Manager. 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 21, 2015

Book Review: Marc Balcells on "Cultural Heritage Ethics: Between Theory and Practice", Edited by Constantine Sandis

Marc Balcells reviews "Cultural Heritage Ethics: Between Theory and Practice, Edited by Constantine Sandis" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:

Sadly, a book of cultural heritage ethics is always necessary, it seems. But with the recent events going on in several zones of the globe, an edited collection of essays like this becomes more and more essential and a remainder of both the fragility of cultural heritage and the bestiality that can be inflicted upon it. Thus, departing from a methodology based mostly on case studies, the book has been written by experts coming from different sectors in the field, ranging from academia to lawyers, or from activists to journalists. A complete, detailed list of contributors includes Constantine Sandis, James Fox, Benjamin Ramn, Nira Wickramasinghe, William St Clair, Sudeshna Guha, Geoffrey Scarre, Sir John Boardman, ARCA’s professor Tom Flynn, Sir Mark Jones, Michael F. Brown, Geoffrey Belcher and Marie Cornu.

The book is structured in very marked and clearly distinct blocks. The first one deals with meaning and memory. Sandis’ chapter mostly delineates the field of cultural heritage ethics and raises the very interesting question of whether we can talk about a unified account of what we consider cultural heritage and cultural heritage ethics or not. James Fox, in Chapter Two, and using as a case study the prohibition by FIFA of wearing poppies on English football uniforms in a match against Spain, writes about potent political symbols. Chapter Three, written by Benjamin Ramm, deals with the attacks to- wards the values of shared culture, and how, in this context, the concept of heritage acquires a new meaning. This is, by far, the most theoretical chapter of the whole book.
Marc Balcells is the Associate Editor of The Journal of Art Crime. A Spanish criminologist, he holds degrees in Law, Criminology and Human Sciences, and masters both in Criminal Law, and the ARCA Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection. A Fulbright scholar, he is currently completing his PhD in Criminal Justice at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His research revolves around criminological aspects of archaeological looting, though he has also written about other forms of art crime. He has taught both Criminal Law and Criminology courses as an associate at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain) and is a Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Political Science department at John Jay College. He is also a criminal defense attorney whose practice is located in Barcelona.

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 20, 2015

Editorial Essay: Francesca Coccolo on "New Archaeological Discoveries and Cultural Ventures beyond War Threats: A Model of Excellence Stemming from Iraqi-Italian Cooperation" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

In an editorial essay, Francesca Coccolo writes on "New Archaeological Discoveries and Cultural Ventures beyond War Threats: A Model of Excellence Stemming from Iraqi-Italian Cooperation" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
The Italian Archaeological Mission to Assyria – Land of Nineveh Regional Project, one among four Italian projects concerning Iraqi cultural heritage, operates in the Northern Region of Iraqi Kurdistan – Governorate of Dohuk, few kilometres north from the Mosul dam and the ISIS occupied territories.1 The first significant achievements by the above mission, directed by the Associate Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Art History from the University of Udine Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, were presented last October at the University of Udine and last December during two international conferences held respectively in Turin and Florence, in the presence of both Iraqi and Kurdish governmental representatives.2 
Following a proposal from UNESCO, The Land of Nineveh Project has been carried out since 2012 by the University of Udine in cooperation with the General Directorate of Antiquities of Dohuk and Erbil (KRG – Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism), the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and the Institute for Technology Applied to Cultural Heritage of the Italian National Research Council (CNR). The ambitious Mission of the Project is made up of three closely intertwined approaches integrating scientific research, protection and enhancement of the cultural heritage of Iraqi Kurdistan and professional training for local archaeologists. 
Consistently with the framework of a high-level cooperation established between the Iraqi and the Italian governments, the Rector of the University of Udine, Alberto Felice de Toni, underlined that the archaeological permit granted by the Central Authorities of Baghdad to the Archaeological Mission from Udine is one of the broadest ever to be obtained by a foreign mission operating on Iraqi territory. ...
Francesca Coccolo is a Ca’ Foscari University of Venice graduate student. Her research interests space from national and international law on cultural property to protection of artworks and antiquities during armed conflicts as well as illicit traffic in the art market. While attending her MA program she was granted an internship experience at Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della Città di Venezia (2012). She contributed also to the setting-up project of the 55. International Art Exhibition in the role of assistant registrar at Fondazione la Biennale di Venezia (2013). In her upcoming thesis project she examines the evolution over centuries of international law regulating cultural restitution after armed conflicts with a special focus on the international regulations and practices which affected the restitution to Italy of the artworks displaced immediately before and during WWII. In June and December 2014 she attended the Fourth and Fifth Provenance Research Training Program (PRTP) workshops held respectively in Athens and Rome by the European Shoah Legacy Istitute (ESLI). In December 2014 she also had the opportunity to attend an international conference in Florence on the Italian contribution for the preservation and enhancement of the Iraqi cultural heritage and to focus her enquiry on the activity of Italian archaeological teams operating in the autonomous Kurdish region.
  
Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 19, 2015

Editorial Essay: Toby Bull's perspective in "The Grape War of China: Wine Fraud and How Science is Fighting Back" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

In the editorial essay "The Grape War of China: Wine Fraud and How Science is Fighting Back" Hong Kong police officer Toby Bull presents his perspective in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:

There has been wine made from grapes – as opposed to grain - in China for thousands of years (Kjellgren, 2004). Indeed, Wang Renxiang (1993) considers it to be at the very heart of China’s culture and identity. Vine cultivation goes as far back as the Zhou dynasty (ca. 1100-256 BC), where indigenous vines within the royal gardens were said to have existed. The first documented account of Western viticulture coming into contact with the Middle Kingdom is found in a First Century BC history book, Shiji, where an emperor’s envoy sent to the lands west of what is now the Sino-Uzbekistan border area, saw “grapes that were used to make wine...the oldest was kept several decades without getting spoilt” (cited in Kjellgren, 2004). The envoy, duly impressed, returned with some cuttings and, not long afterwards, Chinese vineyards from a Eurasian grape varietal were established, eventually producing wine fit for the imperial palate (Kjellgren, 2004). And so wine became associated with the rich and high-born: a luxurious and desirous product, and with it, perhaps, the earliest recorded case of a “wine crime” occurring in ancient China.


Li Hua (2002) mentions an official bestowing a gift of (grape) wine - the equivalent of 20 liters – in order to achieve a high position and win favor at court. Hua refers to this as “the first time an office was bought with wine” – a neat symmetry to the modern-day practice referred to in China as “Elegant Bribery:” the art of bribing officials with gifts, normally of art or expensive Grand-Crus. China’s recent anti-graft measures, a decree by the current president, are seeing some changes to this method, although the Chinese still buy wine, lots of it, both for gift-giving and personal consumption, but are now spending less (Luo, 2014). Thus, whilst the West can look to the writings of Pliny the Elder from 1st century Rome for early references to the relationship between the wine trade and the shenanigans sometimes associated with it, so too can China look to its past, for the concept is not a new one.
Toby J. A. Bull was born in England and educated at the famous Rugby School. He holds three academic degrees, including a BA (Hons) in ‘Fine Arts Valuation’ and a MSc in ‘Risk, Crisis & Disaster Management’. He continued his studies in the arts by becoming a qualified art authenticator, studying at the Centre for Cultural Material Conservation and graduating from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has extensive knowledge in forensic art authentication methods, as well as in the more theoretical and academic studies surrounding art fraud. His main interests include the topic of fakes and forgeries of Chinese ceramics and the problems of smuggled illicit antiquities emanating out of China. He has subsequently seen his work on this subject published in “Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art Market” (Praeger, 2009), as well as in “Cultural Property Crime” (Brill, 2014). Since 1993, he has worked for the Hong Kong Police Force. His expertise in the field of art crime have allowed him to be an advisor, as well as an Honorary Professor to the “Association for the Research into Crimes Against Art” (ARCA) for their postgraduate certificate program on “Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection.” He has lectured extensively to the art trade and beyond on topics surrounding ‘Art Crime’ to the likes of Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Christie’s Education, The World Congress of Forensics and at Asia Art in London, as well as to ARCA's ‘Art Crime & Cultural Heritage Protection Conference’ held annually in Italy. He recently Chaired the Forensic DNA panel at the 2014 World Gene Convention where he presented a paper on synthetic DNA security coding and its application to the art and fine wine markets in helping to combat fakes. Seeing the disparity between public and private involvement in the field of art crime and its associated spin-offs, Toby founded TrackArt in 2011– Hong Kong’s first Art Risk Consultancy. Toby is a Member of The Worshipful Company of Art Scholars.

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 18, 2015

Columnist Christos Tsirogiannis looks at “Duplicates and the Antiquities Market” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

In Christos Tsirogiannis' regular column "Nekyia", the Greek forensic archaeologist addresses “Duplicates and the Antiquities Market” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
For more than 60 years, academics, field archaeologists, journalists and state authorities have discussed the idea that countries of origin should offer "duplicate" antiquities or multiple copies to the market, for a variety of reasons. Some of the participants in the debate are echoing the desire of the market which general promotes the idea that antiquities certified by countries of origin should be made available for sale. 
Journalist Karl E. Meyer, in his 1973 book The Plundered Past, refers to the possible legal sale of antiquities which are the findings of state archaeological excavations and are classified as duplicates. Meyer suggests that the sale of these duplicates could take place in order to satisfy "at least the collecting appetites of those with a moderate income, with the money used to support excavations". Although Meyer implies that such proposals have been made several times before 1973 (without ever having been applied in practice) and refers (Meyer 1973: 186) to a relevant attempt in Mexico "a few years ago", the author does not support this information with specifics. As we will see, Kersel and Kletter (2006) uncover evidence that the Israeli state in principle enabled the sale of duplicates in the 1950s. I find it a strong possibility that this is what Meyer had in mind.
Christos Tsirogiannis is a Greek forensic archaeologist. He studied archaeology and history of art in the University of Athens, then worked for the Greek Ministry of Culture from 1994 to 2008, excavating throughout Greece and recording antiquities in private hands. He voluntarily cooperated with the Greek police Art Squad on a daily basis (August 2004 – December 2008) and was a member of the Greek Task Force Team that repatriated looted, smuggled and stolen antiquities from the Getty Museum, the Shelby White/Leon Levy collection, the Jean-David Cahn AG galleries, and others. Since 2007, Tsirogiannis has been identifying antiquities in museums, galleries, auction houses, private collections and museums, depicted in the confiscated Medici, Becchina and Symes-Michaelides archives, notifying public prosecutor Dr. Paolo Giorgio Ferri and the Greek authorities. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, on the international illicit antiquities network viewed through the Robin Symes–Christos Michaelides archive. 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 17, 2015

David Gill's column Context Matters reviews “From Palmyra to Mayfair: The Movement of Antiquities from Syria and Northern Iraq” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

In David Gill's regular column "Context Matters", the archaeologist examines “From Palmyra to Mayfair: The Movement of Antiquities from Syria and Northern Iraq” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
The present conflict in Syria and northern Iraq has brought the issue of antiquities to the attention of the international media. This is due, first, to the scale of the recent looting revealed by remote sensing, second, to the possibility that archaeological objects were being used to fund the conflict, and third, to the deliberate destruction of key monuments and museum objects in what can only be described as acts of "cultural barbarism". At the same time there are more pressing concerns about the plight of refugees from the conflict zones, and the deliberate targeting of religious minorities. 
Looting is not a new phenomenon to Syria. And there have been instances in recent years of objects linked to that region turning up on the antiquities market. In April 2009 six Roman limestone busts surfaced on the London market at Bonhams (April 29, 2009, lots 48-53). ...
David Gill is Professor of Archaeological Heritage and Head of the Division of Humanities at University Campus Suffolk. He was a Rome Scholar at the British School of rome and a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was subsequently part of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University, Wales, UK. He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale. He has recently completed a history of British archaeological work in Greece prior to the First World War. 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

LIFE and times: a look back on the destruction of Italian cultural heritage in WWII

By Hal Johnson, ARCA 2014 alumnus and DNA Consultant
Timing can be everything. I had just returned home to Chicago a week after attending this year’s conference in Amelia. Not long after leaving the airport my family told me about an old issue of LIFE magazine awaiting me at home (Figure 1). Dated 24 July 1944, it contained an article about the destruction of Italian art during World War II. What better tie-in to the ARCA conference, since several speakers addressed the loss of cultural property amidst the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria? It was an opportunity to put current events in perspective. 
The Allied invasion of Italy was well underway by the summer of 1944. Rome had already been liberated by Allied forces, who were continuing to advance toward German defensive lines in northern Italy. Southern Italy was secure and damage assessments had begun. Despite efforts by Allied command to preserve monuments and art whenever possible, not everything in Italy could be spared. Photojournalist George Silk was sent to document the destruction of churches in three Campanian cities – Capua, Naples and Benevento – for this LIFE photo-essay, entitled War Ravages Italy’s Art: Allies Try to Save Great Relics.    
A previous issue of LIFE (10 January 1944) printed a story about Nazi looting in Italy. This edition, however, addressed the conundrum faced by General Eisenhower and his commanders throughout their invasion of Europe: “…which is more precious: life itself or the living cultural traditions that give life much of its meaning.” Collateral damage was inevitable, but Silk’s photos underscored the salvage of church art and architecture that was already taking place (Figures 2-5). The article also makes a reference to the wartime art specialists we now know as “monuments men.” I don’t know if this is their earliest mention in mainstream media, but the passage is certainly worded to inform the home front about a new Allied mission:
“The British and U.S. governments have set up a group of experts to carry on the work of art preservation. The experts have prepared maps for bombing missions, carefully plotting the location of art treasures so that the bombers can avoid any unnecessary destruction. Once a town is captured, the art experts quickly move in to minimize damage. They erect scaffoldings to support shaken walls and ceilings, put up temporary roofs to protect interiors from rain and weather, gather all rubble together so it can be sifted for valuable fragments that can be used later to reconstruct damaged works. They have already helped compile a record of every important movable piece of Italian art, including all of the Nazi loot. This list will help to return to the pillaged towns many of their priceless paintings and sculptures.” 
Why would someone reading the news care about the shelling of a church halfway around the world? Funny how the same question could be posed to readers in both 1944 and 2015. And yet I think our grandparents and great-grandparents did care about the suffering of art in WWII Italy. Not because our greatest generation was made up of art lovers, but because of the unity that comes from a common purpose. Everyone was deeply invested in the Second World War. One only has to look at news, advertisements, pop culture and public service announcements from that era to understand that the war effort pervaded every aspect of their lives. I have this LIFE magazine today because my great Grandpa Myers used them to compile his own scrapbook of the war as it happened. Countless other civilians did the same.       
Today’s monuments men are often civilians with little or no access to the conflict zones where art is being destroyed. Or else they are a courageous few on the inside who risk their lives to save their people’s heritage. All of them are repeatedly called on to justify their cause. At best their audience is a society focused on issues closer to home. At worst they are faced with indifference. Sadly, foreign wars have become something that is easy to ignore if you choose to do so. My generation (and subsequent generations) of Americans can’t relate to the collective efforts of those who lived during the world wars. Unless you actually know men and women on active duty, war has become something you can switch off with your remote control or a click of the mouse. It is both a luxury and a shortcoming of our time.
The best way to interest people in 21st century cultural heritage protection may be through grassroots efforts. Start at home. Engage your friends and loved ones. Seek out local art groups or historical societies and inform them about these issues. Build networks, however small they may seem at first! It all adds up. 
In that vein, I’d like to thank my mother for bringing the LIFE magazine article to my attention. Thanks also to my friend (and fellow 2014 ARCA alum) Bryce McWhinnie for uploading it into the research database at the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.



July 15, 2015

Columnist Noah Charney on “Napoleon: Emperor of Art Theft” in "Lessons from the History of Art Crime" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

In his regular column "Lessons from the History of Art Crime" Noah Charney writes on “Napoleon: Emperor of Art Theft” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
When Citizen Wicar, one of the key members of the art theft division of Napoleon's army, died in 1843, he bequeathed 1436 artworks as a gift to his birthplace, the city of Lille. Though most were works on papers (prints and drawings), this is an astonishing number. But there are two more facts about this bit of historical trivia that make it that much more surprising. First, almost all of these works had been stolen by him, personally, over the course of his service to the Napoleonic Army, in which he and several other officers were charged with selecting, removing, boxing up and shipping back to Paris art from the collection of those vanquished by la Grande Armee. Stealing over a thousand artworks is no small feat for a single person, even when with the sort of unrestricted access his position with the army allowed. Impressive enough, until we reach the second fact: Citizen Wicar had already sold most of the art he had stolen over the course of his post-war life, but still had those thousand odd pieces left over, to bequeath. In terms of quality, Citizen Wicar, who would serve as Keeper of Antiquities at the Louvre Museum, is the most prolific art thief in history. But it is his boss, Napoleon Bonaparte, who is often crowned with that title.
Noah Charney holds Masters degrees in art history from The Courtauld Institute and University of Cambridge, and a PhD from University of Ljubljana. He is Adjunct Professor of Art History at the American University of Rome, a Visiting Lecturer for Brown University abroad programs, and is the founder of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, a non-profit research group on issues of art crimes. Charney is the author of numerous academic and popular articles, including a regular column in ArtInfo called “The Secret History of Art” and a weekly interview series in The Daily Beast called “How I Write.” His first novel, The Art Thief (Atria 2007), is currently translated into seventeen languages and is a best seller in five countries. He is the editor of an academic essay collection entitled Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009) and the Museum Time series of guides to museums in Spain (Planeta 2010). His is author of a critically acclaimed work of non-fiction, Stealing the Mystic Lamb: the True History of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece (PublicAffairs 2011), which is a best seller in two countries. His latest book is The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting (ARCA Publications 2011). Upcoming books include The Art of Forgery (Phaidon 2015), The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art (Norton 2015), and Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves, an edited collection of essays on art crime (Palgrave 2014). 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 14, 2015

Erin L. Thompson on “But We Didn’t Steal It:” Collectors’ Justifications for Purchasing Looted Antiquities" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

Erin L. Thompson discusses “But We Didn’t Steal It:” Collectors’ Justifications for Purchasing Looted Antiquities in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
This article looks at beliefs of collectors about archaeology and antiquities in order to explain why modern collectors are willing to tolerate a certain amount of illegality in the process of getting antiquities from the ground to their collections. These justifications for purchasing potentially looted artifacts work by providing reasons to explain why the collector is a better owner for the antiquity than the government of its country of origin. The justifications fall into two main strands: first, that the country of origin does not deserve to own the antiquity; and second, that the collector possesses some special power of understanding of the object that gives him or her the right to own it.
Erin Thompson is Assistant Professor of Art Crime at John Jay College of Law. Her research focuses on the damage done to humanity’s shared heritage by the looting and smuggling of antiquities and other instances of the deliberate destruction of art. In addition to her traditional scholarly production during her time as a faculty member, she has published two editorials in the New York Times: “Restrict Imports of Antiquities from Syria to Cut Down on Looting” (October 9, 2014) and “Egypt’s Looted Antiquities” (May 30, 2014), as well as one in the Los Angeles Times: “To protect Syria’s antiquities, don’t buy them” (September29, 2013). She has responded to requests for background information on art crime from 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, and NewsHour (PBS), and has been interviewed on Public Radio International’s The Takeaway and Al Jazeera America’s evening news. She has also appeared on the Freakonomics podcast, which has 3 million listeners per episode, to discuss the economic paradoxes of museum security. 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 13, 2015

David Gill writes on "Damaging the Archaeological Record: The Lenborough Hoard" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

David Gill writes on "Damaging the Archaeological Record: The Lenborough Hoard" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
On Sunday 21 December 2014, a major Anglo-Saxon coin hoard was discovered in Buckinghamshire, England. The discovery has been hailed as a major find, but at the same time concerns have been raised about the way that the find was made and removed from its archaeological context. It should be stressed that no crime seems to have been committed, but the impression given is that the hoard was removed from the ground through a less than scientific process. This is an appropriate moment to learn from the discovery of the Lenborough Hoard and to suggest stronger guidelines to protect nationally significant finds. 
David Gill is Professor of Archaeological Heritage and Head of the Division of Humanities at University Campus Suffolk. He was a Rome Scholar at the British School of rome and a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was subsequently part of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University, Wales, UK. He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale. He has recently completed a history of British archaeological work in Greece prior to the First World War.

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 12, 2015

Ryan Casey on "Analyzing Criminality in the Market for Ancient Near Eastern Art" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime.

Ryan Casey looks at "Analyzing Criminality in the Market for Ancient Near Eastern Art" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
Similar to other criminally deviant transnational markets, the trade of Near Eastern artifacts involves powerful participants exerting influence over regulative and law enforcement systems in order to manipulate and exploit the market to their advantage. The emphasis in this paper is on the perceptual factors attributed to the power of these offenders and how that can be further manipulated to excuse and perpetuate criminal activity. By exploring criminological theories concerned with crimes of the powerful, neutralization techniques, and sociology theories based on the idea of philanthropic power crimes, we gain a clearer understanding of this criminal scheme. Through case studies specifically involving Near Eastern art, it becomes apparent that perceptual power sustains the illusion of social distinction and boundaries between those in the trade and academic field of Near Eastern art and those not involved, and also how these boundaries encourage a false sense of legitimacy and acceptance of deviant behavior.
Ryan Casey is an alumni of ARCA’s Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection program from the Class of 2014. After acquiring a B.A. in International Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, she enrolled in ARCA’s certification program to gain a better understanding of the transnational market for cultural property. She will be continuing her studies at the University of Glasgow as a student of the MSc program in Transnational Crime, Justice, and Security for the 2015-16 school year.

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime

July 11, 2015

Suzette Scotti Writes About Hawaii's Museums in Resurrecting Hawaii Identity in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

Suzette D. Scotti writes on "Rekindling the Flame: The Role of Hawaii's Museums in Resurrecting Hawaiian Identity" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimein the 2015 Spring Issue, edited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
On January 17, 1893, a group of influential American businessmen residing in Hawai’i staged a coup to overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy. The illegal occupation and subsequent annexation of Hawai’i by the United States threatened the Hawaiian culture with extinction. Today, three Honolulu museums – Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and ‘Iolani Palace – are striving to right the wrongs perpetrated against the Hawaiian nation by reviving, promoting, and celebrating Hawaii’s unique history, culture, and art. Their efforts are helping to salvage an endangered heritage by educating the public, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian alike, about Hawaiian culture. Each in its own way is inspiring a resurgence of Hawaiian identity and a newfound pride in a nation whose language, customs, and art had been nearly eradicated. Like the newly emerging “museums of social justice,” they are raising public awareness of controversial issues in Hawaiian- American relations and inviting dialogue over contentious topics. 
Suzette Scotti teaches Art History at Leeward Community College, a campus of the University of Hawai’i. She serves on the Board of the Hawai’i Museums Association and is a docent at the Honolulu Museum of Art. She taught for a decade in Rome, indulging her passion for Italian art, and has also lived in England, Spain, Switzerland, and Japan. She speaks fluent Italian and French. Suzette earned a B.A. in English from Vassar College, a Diploma in Legal Studies from Queens’ College, Cambridge University, an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Virginia, and a second M.A. in Art History from Louisiana State University. She first became interested in art crime while living in Rome, where she could see the looted obelisk of Axum from her living room window. She is a devoted supporter and happy graduate of ARCA.

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime

Saturday, July 11, 2015 - , No comments

AUR students and students from Rome University 3 excavating at the Colosseum and Forum of Peace

Dear ARCA colleagues,

AUR students and students from Rome University 3 have just begun an exciting summer of archaeological excavation at the Colosseum and Forum of Peace (aka Forum of Vespasian). We would love it if you could follow us on our blog (http://www.aur.edu/archeology-classics/colosseum-blog-2/) and also follow the special facebook page we have set up called “diggers’ creed”. This is updated by the students on site as much as time allows (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diggers-creed/362275977305135?fref=ts ). Please like us and share the post with as many people as possible.

We are hoping to begin regular a periscope spot soon which will be the first time this has been done from the Colosseum.  
At the moment a documentary is being made about the games and one of the lifts that brought animals into the arena has been reconstructed. It is right next to where we are digging and pretty impressive!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJnPtFuzFOA

Please help us out by following us!

Valerie Higgins,
Associate Professor of Archaeology,
Program Director for Archaeology and Classics,
Program Director for Sustainable Cultural Heritage
The American University of Rome,
Via Pietro Roselli 4,
00153 Rome,
Italy.
Tel. ++39 06 5833 0919
Fax ++39 06 5833 0992 

For five decades AUR has been preparing students to live and work across cultures.
The American University of Rome is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

July 9, 2015

EmBree & Scott on "The Multifarious Nature of Art Forgery in France: Four Case Studies of Belle Époque Fakes and Forgeries" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

Carolyn EmBree and David A. Scott wrote on "The Multifarious Nature of Art Forgery in France:  Four Case Studies of Belle Époque Fakes and Forgeries" in the 13th issue of The Journal of Art Crime, in the 2015 Spring Issue, edited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA.

Here's the abstract for this academic article:
For the insatiable consumer culture that first appeared 19th-century France, fine art objects were among the luxury goods they coveted since these items served as markers of an elevated social status. While this situation certainly created a financial incentive for dishonest art dealers to supplement the elevated demand, issues surrounding art fakery and forgery during the Belle Époque were sometimes more complicated than economic forces during this period. In the pursuit of understanding these more complex issues relating to artistic authenticity, we hope to illustrate that in distancing ourselves from the simplistic notion that profit alone drives art crime, we are better equipped to appreciate the subtleties within the larger notion of art forgery itself. In this article, we present four cases: the Tiara of Saïtapharnès, Mailfert’s furniture, Schuffenecker’s alleged sunflower painting, and the Rodin sculptures of Guy Hain. We will focus on the hermeneutics involved in each of the examples in question, as well as the characteristics that challenge their authenticity. In doing so, we argue that the multifarious nature of these cases serves to further extend the ambit of art forgery, while simultaneously raising the issue of whether such an expansive conception of forgery can negatively color perceptions of the objects and artists it implicates.
Carolyn EmBree is a PhD student in the Department of French and Francophone Studies specializing in nineteenth- century literature at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

David A. Scott holds a joint appointment in Art History and Archeology, and was founding director of the UCLA/Getty Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation.

In a letter from the editor, Noah Charney explains how The Journal of Art Crime is reaching a wider audience:
Big things are happening for the Journal of Art Crime. After several years courted by a number of academic journal publishers, we have signed on with HeinOnline, a provider of e-edition journals to thousands of libraries around the world, making the JAC accessible via their subscription service to researchers the world over. It remains the more cost-effective method to subscribe to us directly, and the only way to receive print subscriptions, but our goal to disseminate the fine articles in this publication to as many researchers as possible made this a good move. We are also about to release an essay collection that features work published in the JAC, as well as more than a dozen new essays by over thirty leading international experts, many of whom have already appeared in these pages. The book, entitled Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves will be published by Palgrave towards the end of 2015/start of 2016, and all proceeds from it support ARCA. We are also putting together new symposia for the fall and winter in the UK, so stay tuned for more good things to come.
Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

July 7, 2015

The Oratorio of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily: Where a stolen Caravaggio Nativity once hung above the altar


Street entrance to the Oratorio of San Lorenzo in Palermo
by Judge Arthur Tompkins

This post continues last week's post "Sicily, Palermo, Cicero, and a missing Caravaggio".

I found it.

Not, sadly, Caravaggio's Nativity. But the stunning Oratorio where it should hang.

The Oratorio of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily, is at Via Immacolatella, 3, next door to a larger church dedicated to Saint Francis, which overlooks a quiet piazza. It's a little tricky to find, a few streets back on the south side of Via Vittorio Emanuele, on the seaward side of both the main north-south roads, Via Marqueda and Via Roma, in the Old Town.

Just in case you're interested, the easiest route is to turn off Via Vittorio Emanuele into Via Alessandro Paternostro, then walk down this gently curving street until it opens into the small piazza. The Chiesa San Francesco is on your left, across the piazza, and the entrance to Via Immacolatella is in the far left corner: it heads back towards Via Vittorio Emanuele. You'll most likely need to keep your map close at hand as you untangle the labyrinth to find the front entrance.

Leafy courtyard of the Oratorio of San Lorenzo
Inside the entrance and up a few steps is a small leafy courtyard. You pay the modest entrance fee on the left (hang on to your ticket - it will get you free or reduced entrance to a list of other places, including the sombre and austere 12th century church of San Cataldo, with its distinctive three cupolas, just behind Piazza Pretoria) and then the door to the Oratorio is diagonally across the courtyard, in the far corner nearest the street.

Inside a vibrant rococo feast of Giacomo Serpotta baroque stucco work greets you, showing various scenes from the life of St Lawrence, culminating in his martyrdom atop a fiery brazier on the rear wall.

The copy of the stolen Caravaggio painting of the Nativity
But opposite that, in pride of place above the altar, hangs a full size replica of the stolen painting. Even as a copy, it dominates the rectangular room, the only break in the profusion of white and gilded stucco-work.

It remains a silent witness to a now decades-old theft, with little or no hope for the recovery of an original most likely now gone for ever.

Sources for further reading on the theft of Palermo's Caravaggio Nativity can be found here.

July 3, 2015

Further Information about Palermo's stolen Caravaggio Nativity painting

Caravaggio, "Nativity with Saint Lawrence
and Saint Francis"
For further reading on the ARCA Blog about Caravaggio's "Nativity with Saint Lawrence and Saint Francis" stolen from a church in Palermo in 1969:

Judith Harris, "Breaking News on the Stolen Caravaggio Nativity", December 18, 2009;

Catherine Schofield Sezgin, "More confirmation of old news? Pietro Grasso, head of the anti-Mafia crime unit, confirms in May that Caravaggio's Nativity of Palermo eaten by pigs", May 10, 2012;

Sezgin, "Revisiting books: Peter Watson on the Palermo Nativity in the 1984 book The Caravaggio Conspiracy", May 14, 2012;

Sezgin, "Revisiting books: Watson's The Caravaggio Conspiracy and the motive for stealing the Palermo Nativity",  May 16, 2012;

Sezgin, "Revisiting books: An Earthquake Shatters Expectations in The Caravaggio Conspiracy", May 18, 2012;

Laura Fandino, "ARCA 2013 Conference: James Moore on the stolen Palermo Nativity by Caravaggio ...", August 25, 2013;

In regards to a theft of another Caravaggio painting:

Sezgin, "Rev. Dr. Marius Zerafa Spoke on "The Theft and Ransom of Caravaggio's "St. Jerome Writing", Co-Cathedral of St. John" at ARCA's Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference" July 10, 2014;

Sezgin, "Father Zerafa's recommended reading on Caravaggio's Stolen Palermo Nativity -- and his memory of visiting the painting in the S Lorenzo Chapel",  July 17, 2014.

July 2, 2015

Sicily, Palermo, Cicero, and a missing Caravaggio ...

Cicero's bust in the Musei Capitolini
 ["Cicero - Musei Capitolini"
 by Glauco92 - Own work.
 Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
 via Wikimedia Commons].jpg
by Judge Arthur Tompkins

This year's visit to Ameliai, Umbria, for ARCA's Art Crime and Cultural Heritage course saw a visit, during a break in teaching duties, to Sicily. Apart from the obvious reasons to visit (I'd never been before, and it being a slightly mythical, Godfather-producing place, and all) two art crime-related reasons spurred my presence in the centuries old, culturally diverse, vibrant and slightly shambolic ancient metropolis. 

The first was that about 20 centuries ago, a Roman magistrate named Gaius Verres came to Palermo as governor. During an energetically corrupt, roughly two-year tenure, he managed to plunder and loot and steal his way through whole swathes of Sicilian culture and art and heritage.  

"Michelangelo Caravaggio, Nativity with
 San Francesco and San Lorenzo"

Fated ever to be the long suffering populace (in the coming centuries, they were to be ruled by - not necessary in this order, or at least always not in a lineally ordered sequence - the Romans, the Vandals, the Goths, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Angevins and the Aragonese, the Bourbons, the Savoys, and finally, the Italians), Verres' larceny proved too much even for the stoical Sicilians. They hired a young and ambitious lawyer in Rome, one Marcus Tullius Cicero, to prosecute the erstwhile governor. And prosecute him Cicero did, vigorously and famously, in the Senate, by way of a series of speeches later known to history collectively as the Verrines. Such was the power of his prosecutorial oratory, after the first speech was delivered to a likely enthusiastic Roman crowd and Senate, Verres fled into exile. He never returned to Rome.

Cicero's Verrines have echoed down the centuries, as exemplars of oratory, of writing, of prosecutorial precedent and, coincidentally, of informative travel-writing. Conceptually, in part they embody and express a fundamental idea that underpins so much of our cultural heritage protection thinking now, the idea that art and culture and heritage belongs not just to the immediate possessor or the country in which accidental history consigns it, but to all humankind.

So I wanted to walk the same ground as had the notorious Gaius Verres, and which had occasioned Cicero's oratory.

Via Vittoria Emanuele, Palermo, Sicily [Arthur Tompkins].jpg
The second reason is that Palermo is the site of one of the great unsolved art crimes. In 1609 Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was on the run from the authorities in Rome. He had been Naples and in Malta, but in late 1608 he had washed up in Sicily. According to one account, he spent a year here, "sleeping fitfully with a dagger by his side, and painting several late [although I guess he would probably have thought of them as early to mid career] masterpieces".

One of them was the large and dramatic Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco. For about 350 years the canvas hung undisturbed above the altar in the Oratorio di San Lorenzo, just off the main Via Vittorio Emanuele in downtown Palermo.

Then in October 1969 it was stolen.  It has never been seen since. Varying accounts have it still in hiding somewhere, burnt, rotted, eaten by rats, or indeed fed to swine (by swine, one might think ...).

I wanted to see where it should still be.