The Society for the History of Collecting

invites you to its Online Workshop

Spoliation and Recovery of Art and Antiquities from Italy 

Tuesday, 22 March 2022 at

3pm GMT // 4pm CET // 11am EDT // 8am PDT


As Italy’s artistic heritage, both antiquities and fine art, has been hardest hit by the illicit art trade, these papers will focus on the country’s historic spoliation during the Renaissance, Napoleonic and Grand Tour periods, through the 20th to 21st centuries. The talks will present the history of how Italian artistic patrimony made its way into European and American private and public collections. Italy and receiving countries have sharpened their laws and policing so that recoveries and prosecutions towards restitution are on the rise.

Organised by Dr. Eleni Vassilika, this conference is aimed not only at students but also art world and museum professionals, indeed anyone interested to hear the latest information, much of which is unpublished, and to learn more about the surprising realities.


Introduction 15.00

First Session with Break 15.10-16.40

Barbara Furlotti, (Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld) “It is difficult to get statues out of Rome”: Exporting and smuggling antiquities in the Renaissance’

Clare Hornsby (Research Fellow, British School at Rome) ‘From Rome to Hammersmith: The Albani/Dodington sculptures, their story so far’

David Gilks(Lecturer in Modern European History, School of History, University of East Anglia) ‘Opposition to the spoliation of Italy during the Revolutionary-Napoleonic Wars and the case for restitution in 1814-15’

Second Session with Break 16.40-18.10

Valeria Paruzzo (PhD Candidate, University of Trento) ‘The Illicit export of Old Master paintings from Venice in the first half of the 19th century’

Joanna Smalcerz(Asst Professor, History of Art, University of Warsaw) ‘Art Trade, Insider Knowledge and Art Spoliation in Italy Around 1900’

Irene Bald Romano (Professor of Art History and Anthropology, University of Arizona) ‘The Fate of Antiquities in Italy during the Fascist and Nazi periods’ 

Third Session 18.10-19.00

Stefano Alessandrini (former Consultant, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage) ‘The Italian Job: 50 years of unscrupulous acquisitions by American Museums’

Giuditta Giardini (Specialist Art Lawyer)RecentSpoliation of Italian archaeological sites’

Final Discussion 19.00-19.15


Chair: Dr Susanna Avery-Quash, Senior Research Curator (History of Collecting), The National Gallery, London


Gratis and open to all


Nonmembers should registerby emailing:

Members will receive a flyer with the link to the talk at least two days before the event.


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