What is the difference between collecting and looting antiquities?
What constitutes ownership of an art object? What distinquishes individual
from museum collections? What are the ethical obligations of collectors?
Students will examine the trade in antiquities stretching from the
first "collector" - a Roman general who stole art from Sicily
after sacking it in 212 BCE - to Lord Elgin's "purchase"
of the Parthenon marbles in 1806, to the current scandals in the trading
of ancient art which have embroiled NYC's Metropolitan Museum and
the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Our discussions will include
the most recent controversies that have embroiled the museum, gallery
and auction-house worlds, pitting national interests against private
enterprise. Various museum collections will serve as a laboratory
for our study of these questions: the Tate Britain, the Victoria and
Albert, Sir John Soane's, and the British Museum.
introduce students to disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives
To help students identify problems, formulate productive questions,
and develop answers to those questions
To read critically,
and gather and interpret evidence
To develop visual analytical skills and learn to navigate in
and interpret material in museum collections
To communicate effectively and precisely in writing and