Wednesday, May 9, 2012

BATTLE OF THE BRONZE

I have always loved Antiquities. These items speak to me because they give us a glimpse into the human race, a culture that influenced our own, and a way of life that has long since vanished. When I was in college, I loved learning about the ways in which sculptors created their works, how the techniques progressed, and the way in which those techniques influenced the aesthetics of the day. Contrapposto is one of those techniques.  This term is used to describe the pose as seen in the sculpture above whereby one knee is bent, the hip is lifted, and the weight of the figure is seemingly on one leg. This pose was a breakthrough in sculpture as it was the first to express a human emotion through a physical gesture.  One can only imagine the excitement such a development caused the first time a sculptor created this type of work.

A Defensive Posture 
In the antiquities world, the buzz surrounding a special item can only be outdone by the modern spectacle of a battle between countries and cultures over who owns which items.
On May 3, an Italian court upheld a ruling that a bronze statue of an athlete, said to have been created by Alexander the Great's personal sculptor Lysippus, belongs to Italy and should be seized from the J. Paul Getty Museum. The statue, purchased in 1976 for $4 million is alleged to have been illegally exported from Italy before the museum purchased it. On the other hand, the Getty maintains that they purchased the statue legally and will likely petition the highest court in Italy. The Getty's belief that the statue was not exported and sold illegally should not be taken lightly. They have, in fact, returned 49 items which they admit were the product illegal excavations. The Getty does not believe that the export of this item was illegal because it was originally found by fishermen in international waters off Italy's Adriatic coast.

1 comment:

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