Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Cleveland Drusus without a "slam-dunk paper trail"

Drusus minor (Museo del Prado) 01
Drusus minor (Museo del Prado) 01 (Photo credit: Zaqarbal)
Source: Cleveland Museum of Art Newsweek has reviewed the recent criticisms of Cleveland Museum of Art’s acquisition of the apparently recently-surfaced portrait of Drusus (“Who Owns Antiquity?; Two U.S. museums wrestle with the provenance question”, September 17, 2012). The acquisition is defended by the director, David Franklin, who accepts that “the 2,000-year-old marble head didn’t come with a slam-dunk paper trail proving that it could not have been illegally unearthed since the time of the UNESCO convention”.

Newsweek should have explored the sale in Paris. How reliable is the reported collecting history that attempts to place the Drusus in Algeria?

Franklin felt this oral history gave him enough to run with: “We did as much if not more than anyone could have done to research this object … If all the arrows are pointing in one direction, you can make a reasoned assumption,” he says. The inevitable risks that this assumption might turn out wrong are balanced, he feels, by the open access that scholars and visitors now have to this wonderful work of art.

Cleveland is clearly now admitting that there is no verifiable and authenticated documentation for the head.

Via Looting Matters: The Cleveland Drusus without a "slam-dunk paper trail"

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