A museum of stolen works of art opens in Italy

The Museum of Saved Art (Museo dell’Arte Salvata) is housed in an exhibition space called the Octagonal Aula, part of the Diocletian Baths, as part of the Roman National Museum. After being presented in a Roman museum, the objects are transferred to collections in their presumed area of ​​origin, such as Etruria in central Italy or Magna Graecia in southern Italy.

In the new museum, the exhibits are exchanged every few months, allowing for the continuous presentation of returning archaeological finds and works of art. They are the first to present a hundred of the 260 works of art that

Illegal smuggled goods

The first exhibits in the Octagon Hall, including finely crafted Etruscan sculptures and imposing painted earthenware, came from illegal excavations and were smuggled abroad, where they were scattered into museums, private collections, and auction houses.

The new museum showcases objects that have never been seen before in Italy

Stressed at the opening Massimo Osanna, director of Italian state museums and former head of the ruined city of Pompeii. The freshly reclaimed objects date well from pre-Roman times, 8–7 BC. they date from the 16th century, many of them from the area around present-day Cerveteri, which is rich in relics of the flourishing Etruscan civilization.

One of the jewels of the exhibition is a pottery painted more than one meter high and painted red and white. The vessel, decorated with images of horses and cats, depicts the mythological scene of the blinding of Polyphemus, a one-eyed cannibal. According to Massimo Osanna, the decoration of the vessel suggests that the Etruscan elite was bilingual and passionate about Greek myths, identifying with Greek heroes.

Damage to cultural history

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the rotational solution was chosen instead of a permanent exhibition because it was considered right for the recovered finds to be returned to where they had been stolen.

In some cases, experts are unable to determine the exact origin of antiques, indicating the cultural-historical damage caused by illegal excavation. Objects of unknown location are returned to one of the museums in their presumed area.

The opening exhibition will be on display until October 15, after which another dose of antiques recovered will be on display in the foyer of the former bath complex of Emperor Diocletian, writes MTI.

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