An Italian appeals court this week upheld the conviction of Italian art dealer/smuggler Giacomo Medici according to a report by Steve Scherer for Bloomberg. Medici had been convicted of conspiracy to traffic in antiquities in 2004 and sentenced to a 10-year term. It seems to be a very stiff sentence when compared to most art and antiquities crimes. The Appeals court in Rome upheld the conviction and set the sentence at eight years, while upholding a 10 million-euro fine. Italian Prosecutor Paolo Ferri told the LA Times that this was a “very hard sentence. This is the first time in Italy that this type of crime has been given such a high punishment.”
This is the most recent culmination of the 1995 raid on the Medici warehouse in Switzerland which uncovered objects, polaroids, and otherevidence which has resulted in a number of repatriations from museums all over the world, but particularly North American museums. Here of course is Medici, triumphantly posed next to one of his most notorious objects, the Euphronios Krater, when it was on display at the Met in New York.
This now leaves Marion True, former curator of antiquities at the Getty, whose criminal prosecution is currently ongoing. One question worth asking is, where are the other dealers, tombaroli, and museum staff? Where were those able to elude prosecution, not just in Italy, but in the United States as well.
I’ll have much more on this, and Italy’s cultural policy next week in light of Francesco Rutelli’s comments at last Saturday’s ARCA conference in Amelia Italy, including his thoughts on what other objects need to be returned, why they were sent back, and his thoughts on objects which had been acquired by Robin Symes.