The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities--From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums

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9781586484026: The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities--From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums
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The story begins, as stories do in all good thrillers, with a botched robbery and a police chase. Eight Apuleian vases of the fourth century B.C. are discovered in the swimming pool of a German-based art smuggler. More valuable than the recovery of the vases, however, is the discovery of the smuggler's card index detailing his deals and dealers. It reveals the existence of a web of tombaroli—tomb raiders— who steal classical artifacts, and a network of dealers and smugglers who spirit them out of Italy and into the hands of wealthy collectors and museums. Peter Watson, a former investigative journalist for the London Sunday Times and author of two previous exposés of art world scandals, names the key figures in this network that has depleted Europe's classical artifacts. Among the loot are the irreplaceable and highly collectable vases of Euphronius, the equivalent in their field of the sculpture of Bernini or the painting of Michelangelo. The narrative leads to the doors of some major institutions: Sothebys, the Getty Museum in L.A., the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York among them. Filled with great characters and human drama, The Medici Conspiracy authoritatively exposes another shameful round in one of the oldest games in the world: theft, smuggling and duplicitous dealing, all in the name of art.

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About the Author:

Peter Watson writes for the New York Times and has written weekly columns on the art market for the London Sunday Times, Observer and Evening Standard. In June 1997, he was appointed Research Associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in the University of Cambridge. He is the author of The Caravaggio Conspiracy, From Manet to Manhattan,and Sotheby's: The Inside Story. Cecilia Todeschini is a researcher and translator who has worked for the BBC, ITV, CBS, ABC, and NBC. She has covered papal conclaves as well as the great mafia trials in Italy among many other subjects.

From Booklist:

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

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9781586484385: The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities- From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums

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ISBN 10:  1586484389 ISBN 13:  9781586484385
Publisher: PublicAffairs, 2007
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Peter Watson; Cecilia Todeschini
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