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November 29, 2006


Thomas Garvey

Perhaps the Met is being "grudging" because one of the artworks it is being forced to return - the Euphronios krater - is one of the most important works of ancient art in its collection, and in fact one of the most important works of ancient art in this country (there are no other complete works by the painter Euphronios extant, and this particular piece is also co-signed by the potter Euxitheos, who formed the piece). Nothing in the MFA collection, for instance, matches it - certainly "Eirene" (all 9 feet of it) doesn't come close, and I certainly doubt the kylix (yeah, right, "the cup") loaned to the Met does either. Maybe to you and Geoff Edgers this is essentially a kind of Yankees/Red Sox rivalry story, but others may have different feelings. Yes, this masterpiece was almost certainly looted, so the legal case is clear - still, one can see why the Met would desperately want to keep one of its great treasures in the country. (And I'm not sure I see how the current Italian state has much more in common with the Etruscans than New York City does!) True, Malcolm Rogers handled the situation fairly well, but then he had less - much, much less - to lose.

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