In light of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's recent decision to return a rare—and by the Italian government's contention, stolen—vase painted by the Greek master Euphronios, Watson and Todeschini's colorful account of Giacomo Medici, an antiquities dealer found guilty of looting last year, and his illegal business dealings, is wonderfully prescient. Making sense of a lengthy catalogue of legal, artistic and forensic documentation, the authors meticulously map out Medici's underground network of middlemen and tombaroli, or tomb robbers, and link them to corrupt dealers such as Robin Symes as well as to established cultural institutions including Sotheby's, the John Paul Getty Museum and the Met—asserting that Medici supplied most, if not all, of the major collections of classical antiquities that have been established since WWII. Though Watson (Sotheby's: The Inside Story) and Todeschini often become overly indignant when decrying their story's villains and frequently bog down the narrative with long-winded dialogue and paper trail excerpts, they are at their best when chronicling the international adventures of various investigators, such as the Carabinieri Art Squad's raids on various Italian criminals to recover lost loot. (May)
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The sense of wonder experienced when contemplating the beauty and miraculous survival of an ancient Greek vase will be profoundly altered by this vigorous expose of criminal antiquities dealing. Investigative reporter and art crime specialist Watson and researcher Todeschini chronicle the astonishing exploits of Giacomo Medici, a nefarious Italian antiquities dealer and mastermind, as they accompany Colonel Roberto Conforti, head of the Carabinieri Art Squad, over the course of a complicated eight-year investigation. Writing with the zest and seduction of the finest crime novelists, Watson and Todeschini meticulously explicate every phase of Conforti's operation as he and his dedicated agents gradually unveil a well-organized circle of tomb raiders, smugglers, dealers, and, most shockingly, their scandalously complicit high-profile customers, including renowned collectors, premier auction houses, and world-class institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The authors offer an invaluable primer in antiquities, describe the looting of thousands of ancient tombs and the loss of irreplaceable archaeological sites, skewer disreputable curators, and decry the fate of "some of the finest objects ever produced by humankind" in a dramatic, fascinating, and rightfully indignant report on outrageous avarice and crimes against civilization. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A phenomenal book! Reads like a mystery but is a true story. For anyone interested in antiquities, art or Italy, or just likes a good book, this is for you!Published 7 months ago by video teacher
Subject is fascinating, and book is well researched. Writing, however, is disappointing. Too many sentences begin with "there is" or "there are," word... Read morePublished 8 months ago by carolyn h. williams
Couldn't put it down!! Made me feel like there were lives running around the world all around me [and there are]. Looking forward to hearing about the ends of some of these trials.Published 17 months ago by Katy
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about stolen antiquities. It reads like a thriller - it does have a lot of details, as others have mentioned, and... Read morePublished on September 3, 2008 by A. Thiele
This book is fascinating and important reading for anyone interested in the intersections of the art world, commerce and crime. Read morePublished on October 13, 2007 by C H Miller
This book is a well written, well researched book about looted antiquities. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject, or anyone interested in looted art in... Read morePublished on May 7, 2007 by D
I give this book a definite four stars because it is a worthy representation of the story and gives the account of what happened with great zeal. The topic itself is fascinating. Read morePublished on May 1, 2007 by W. Mitty