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In a press conference last week, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston announced the transfer of thirteen antiquities to Italy via the Ministry of Culture. The objects in question had been acquired through deals stemming from illegal trafficking. The event opens a dialogue between both parties to help in the recovery of illicit objects. The MFA and the Ministry of Culture had reached the agreement earlier in meetings this past summer in May and later in July. Both parties agreed to a more open cultural exchange, allowing the MFA in the future to host a number of significant works from Italy through the special exhibitions program.

Next week, the antiquities will be on display for the public at the Museo Nazionale Romano di Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome. They will be returned and re-installed in their respective museums in the country after the exhibit. Some of the objects include a Two-handled vessel (nestoris) from about 420-410 B.C., Water jar (kalpis-hydria) depicting Apollo making a libation before gods and goddesses from about 485 B.C., and a Statue of Sabina from about A.D. 136.

Minister of Culture, Francesco Rutelli, has said that he was, “ . . . proud to announce this historic moment in international cooperation against illegal trafficking of antiquities." He had also said in his speech that he hoped the agreement would create a model for other institutions to follow in the return of lost artifacts. Malcolm Rogers, director MFA commented that the partnership with the Italian government, “ . . . heralds an exciting new era of collaboration by making the world’s great artistic treasures available to the broadest possible audience. Both the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Italian Ministry of Culture wish to see the end of the illicit excavation and trade of antiquities."

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The MFA's press release and images of the returned objects..

Read an extended story by Geoff Edgers and Susanna Pinto in thehttp://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2006/06/17/italians_extend_art_offer_to_mfa/

Image and story courtesy of the MFA, Boston

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