JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Art Crime: Who Owns Antiquity? - HONORS (This course carries 4 semester hours of credits. A minimum CUM GPA of 3.5 is required)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Crispin Corrado
EMAIL: ccorrado@johncabot.edu
HOURS: TTH 1:30-2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: One previous course in Art History or permission of the instructor.
OFFICE HOURS: By Appointment

The course examines the complex subject of art and cultural heritage crime, with a particular emphasis on Italy. While examining the international and national normative frameworks determining what constitutes an art/cultural heritage crime, special attention will be paid to the question of what constitutes “ownership” of art and cultural heritage. The course will consider the development over time of ideas of the value of art (both real and symbolic), as well as the ways that ideas of “ownership” have changed since the late 20th century. In addition to examining issues related to the definition, prevention, and punishment of art/cultural heritage crimes, the course will also examine the role of the Italian state in protecting its national cultural artifacts.
The course examines the complex subject of art and cultural heritage crime, with a particular emphasis on Italy. It will consider issues such as what constitutes an art/cultural heritage crime, how ideas of value (both real and symbolic) have emerged historically and how have they changed over time, what constitutes "ownership" in the eyes of different entities, and how this has changed over the past 50 years, resulting in the current difficult and controversial issue of the repatriation of cultural artifacts which have crossed international borders. Themes discussed include the history of collecting, illegal excavation and the illicit trade in antiquities, fakes and forgeries, the role of auction houses, the Church, museums and galleries, ownership and patrimony issues, international laws and agreements (in particular the Hague Convention of 1954, the 1970 UNESCO Convention, and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention), recovery and repatriation, and ongoing problems with the protection and conservation of antiquities. Subjects that the class will debate may be, for example, the benefits of repatriation vs. object care and viewership, and the issue of ownership in cases in which all parties involved had, at some time, "legal" rights to the artifact(s) in question. The course will end with a review of cultural heritage laws and the current international situation, as well as a discussion identifying challenges and providing suggestions for regulating the market of antiquities in the future. The course includes two mandatory site visits to the Etruscan Banditaccia Necropolis and the Museum in Cerveteri, and to the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome. These will take place on the same weekend (see daily schedule).
By the end of the course, students will have gained a thorough understanding of Italy's ideas of the ownership and display of artifacts and the conservation of monuments, as well as the challenges it faces internally and with the world community in these areas. They will have learned, too, to evaluate and appreciate the many facets of very complicated legal and moral situations. Finally, students will be very familiar with ancient artifacts, as well as the Italian entities that protect them. 
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Chasing AphroditeFelch and FrammolinoHoughton Mifflin Harcourt978-0151015016  
Shaky GroundMarloweBloomsbury Academic978-1474234665  

Preparation and ParticipationYou are expected to show up on time to class, ready to actively participate, and having completed the reading assignment for the day. 10
Group Museum PresentationWorking in small groups, students will be asked to give a presentation to the class on a prominent U.S. museum. Information presented will include museum history, an overview of the entire collection, a history of the collection and curators of the department of antiquities, and the museum's level of commitment to transparency and the availability of provenance information for their objects, as determined by their didactic labels as well as their online and presence. Museums will be assigned. Student work for the presentation should be turned in (per group) in outline form, with a full bibliography. 10
Group Provenance ReportWorking in small groups, students will be asked to give a presentation to the class on the provenance traditions and practices of different museums in Rome. For this presentation, the group will visit their museum, note the information provided on the small didactic object labels, and prepare a summary of their findings for the class, which should include the group's opinion on their museum's practices. Museums will be assigned. Student work for the presentation should be turned in (per group) in outline form, with a full bibliography.10
Group Law/Convention AnalysisWorking in small groups, students will be asked to give a presentation to the class on an international convention or an Italian law pertaining to cultural heritage protection. Topics will be provided. The presentations should include, above all, a clear overview of the convention or law (i.e. its aims), including timeline, the needs that brought it about, and its success level. Student work for the presentation should be turned in (per group) in outline form, with a full bibliography.10
Object Description AssignmentThis assignment is intended to serve as an exercise in looking and describing, but also in understanding the importance of context and systematic archaeological excavation. For this exercise, students will each choose an object in the Villa Giulia museum that is without context, or that does not have a find spot. An example would be an object that has been repatriated to Italy from another country. Each student will then complete an exercise on that object, which will include sketching the object, writing a physical description of the object, and researching the object. In the final part of the exercise, students will attempt to recreate a context for the object, despite the fact that the object's original context is lost to us. In this section, students will discover the limits of what we may know or understand about an object (e.g. original dates, uses, owner, domestic vs. funerary context), when the object's find spot and thus original context is missing. The purpose of this exercise is to encourage students to think about the long-lasting effects of looting and the black market, and the importance of context and the science of archaeology. The finished assignment will be a two-page (single-spaced, 10- or 12-point font size) paper. 15
Midterm Exam 20
Final Exam 25
Research PaperYou will be asked to write a 10-page research paper on a topic of your choice related to the issue of art crime and the protection of antiquities in the country of Italy. Your topic must be approved by the professor before you begin your research. In conducting your research, you should be prepared to consult professionals in the field, as well as written and more traditional sources. The final version of your paper should be typed, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, 10- or 12-point font size, a title page, and a correctly formatted, full bibliography. The research paper will be graded in three stages; you will be required to submit an annotated bibliography and outline, and then a full draft, before turning in the final version.100

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory. Students may miss up to two class sessions without penalty. Each absence above this will count negatively toward the raw final grade for the course. Three tardy arrivals equal one absence. You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Week 1, Tuesday

Lecture: Course Introduction

Meeting Place: JCU, Classroom

Reading for the Week: M. M. Miles Article, "Greek and Roman Art and the Debate About Cultural Property" (Moodle)

Chasing Aphrodite, Prologue and Chapters 1 - 4

New York Times Article (Moodle)

M. E. Mayo, "Collecting Ancient Art: An Historical Perspective" Article (Moodle)


Week 1, Thursday

Lecture: Antiquities: The Love Affair


Week 2, Tuesday

Lecture: The History of Collecting: Forgers, Looters and the Black Market

Reading for the Week: Chasing Aphrodite, Chapters 5, 6 and 7
C. C. Coggins, "Archaeology and the Art Market" Article (Moodle)

N. Charney's Articles on Fakes and Forgeries (Moodle)


Week 2, Thursday

FILM: “Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery"

Week 3, Tuesday

Collecting Antiquities: The Role of Museums, Auction Houses and Private Collectors

Reading for the Week: Chasing Aphrodite, Chapters 8 - 13

A. Kozloff, "The Antiquities Market" Article (Moodle)

S. White, "Building American Museums" Article (Moodle)

P. Marks, "Dealers Speak" Article (Moodle)


Week 3, Thursday



Week 4, Tuesday

Lecture: John Beazley and Attribution Studies/Connoisseurship

Reading for the Week: T. Flynn's Geneva Talk on the Parthenon Marbles

British Committee for the Reunification of Parthenon Marbles' Refutation of the BM’s Statements (Moodle)

Text of the 1963 British Museum Act (Moodle Link)

K. F. Gibbon, "The Elgin Marbles: A Summary" Article (Moodle)

A. Solomon, "Art in Jeopardy" Article (Moodle)

Week 4, Thursday

Early Collections and Repatriation Issues: The Oriental Institute's Persian Collection and the Elgin Marbles


Week 5, Tuesday

Lecture: What's to Love?: A Lesson on Greek Pottery and Sculpture I

Reading for the Week: Chasing Aphrodite, Chapters 14 – 19

ARCA Blog Post on Getty Bronze (Moodle)


Week 5, Thursday

Case Study: The Getty Bronze

Week 6, Tuesday

Lecture: Provenance: What is it, and is it important?

Reading for the Week: Chasing Aphrodite, Chapters 20 - 22 and Epilogue

Article on the Trial of Marion True (Moodle)

D. Chappell, "Unraveling the 'Cordata'" Article (Moodle)

ARCA Blog Entry on Robin Symes (Moodle)

RAND Article, Medici Case (Moodle)


Week 6, Thursday

Tombaroli & Giacomo Medici, Robin Symes, and Robert Hecht: The "Organigram"


Week 7, Tuesday (or site visit, if possible)

The Banditaccia Necropolis and Museum at Cerveteri
Reading for the Week:

"My Life as a Tombarolo" Article (Moodle)

Case Note: Euphronios Krater (Moodle)

Optional Reading: D. H. Lawrence, Etruscan Places, Chapter 1 (Moodle)


Week 7, Thursday (or site visit, if possible)

Villa Giulia Museum

Choose object for Object Description Project


Week 8, Tuesday

Review for Midterm Exam

Week 8, Thursday



Week 9, Tuesday

Lecture: Looting and the Black Market

Guest Lecturer: CEO of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art


Week 9, Thursday

GROUP PROVENANCE REPORTS presented in class today


Week 10, Tuesday

Lecture: International Conventions and Treaties: The Hague, UNESCO, and UNIDROIT

Reading for the Week: Shaky Ground, Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2

K. F. Gibbon, "Chronology of Cultural Property Legislation" Article (Moodle)

Texts of All Conventions and Treaties:


UNESCO Handbook of Legal and Practical Measures Against Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001461/146118e.pdf


Week 10, Thursday
GROUP CONVENTION REPORTS presented in class today

Week 11, Tuesday

Lecture: Internal National Laws and Bilateral Agreements: Italy and the U.S.; Italian Property Laws

Reading for the Week: Shaky Ground, Chapters 3, 4, 5 and Conclusion

Text of Metropolitan Museum/Italy Repatriation Agreement (Moodle)

M. Papa Sokal, "The U.S. Legal Response to the Protection of the World Cultural Heritage" Article (Moodle)

W. G. Pearlstein, "Cultural Property, Congress, the Courts, and Customs" Article (Moodle)


Week 11, Thursday

Guest Lecture: Italian Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Culture


Week 12, Tuesday

FILM: “The Rape of Europa” – Part I


Week 12, Thursday

FILM: “The Rape of Europa” – Part II


Week 13, Tuesday

Lecture: Italy's Cultural Entities and Art and Antiquities Squads, and the Repatriation of Objects

Reading for the Week: F. Isman, "Artworks in Exile" Article (Moodle)

To Look Over (Moodle Links):

MiBACT, Roma Capitale, and Carabinieri TPC websites


Week 13, Thursday

Guest Lecture: Carabinieri's TPC Squad


Week 14, Tuesday


Lecture: The American Response: AAM and the Reaction of Museums, Museum Personnel and Archaeologists

Reading for the Week: "The Rise of the University Museum" Boston Review Article (Moodle)

"Finders, Keepers" Museums Speak Out About Repatriation Article (Moodle)

K. Singh, "The Universal Museums: The View From Below" Article (Moodle)

T. Flynn's Universal Museum Article (Moodle)

J. Boardman, "'National' Heritage and Scholarship" Article (Moodle)

T. Flynn, "Fear of Cultural Objects" Article (Moodle)

AAM Article 2016 (Moodle)

How are we doing? 2005 UNIDROIT ARTICLE


Week 14, Thursday

The Universal/Encyclopedic Museum: Does it Truly Exist? Should It?; James Cuno and the Getty: A Last Look; State of Affairs: Cleveland Museum of Art (Read ARCA Blog article together on Moodle)

Review for Final Exam

Reading In Review for Final Exam: G. Lobay, "Looting and the Antiquities Trade" (Moodle)