Object Description
Greek South-Italian Red-Figure Bell Krater

Greek, South-Italian (Paestan) red-figure bell krater attributed to Python, circa 360-350 B.C. Painted with a phlyax scene depicting Dionysos and a maenad seated in a cart pulled by the satyr Papposilenos.

Identification Date
01 Mar 2007
Identification Location
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Artefact History
Before 1989

Four regular-print images and one Polaroid image in the Medici archive depict the krater with soil encrustations, standing on a dark red velvet surface, and (upside-down) on an armchair, respectively.

23 Jun 1989

The krater was offered at the Sotheby’s, New York auction, with no provenance information, estimated at $50,000-80,000. It was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for $90,000 and immediately became part of the museum’s permanent exhibition, with the accession number 1989.11.4.

March 2007

Using the Medici Polaroid and regular-print images, Christos Tsirogiannis identifies the krater in the antiquities collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Tsirogiannis enquires the museum in February 2014, but he never received an answer to his emails.

May 2014

Tsirogiannis publishes his identification in an academic article at The Journal of Art Crime.

March 2016

Tsirogiannis notifies the Italian authorities, the Carabinieri and Interpol, for this and other cases in other US museums, but never receives any information on a possible development of any of these cases.

May 2017

Tsirogiannis notifies the Manhattan DA’s Office in New York, sending all the photographic evidence, among other information.

31 July 2017

The confiscation of the krater from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by the Manhattan DA’s Office makes the front page of the New York Times.

Artefact Status
December 2017

By December 2017, the krater was repatriated to Italy from the Manhattan DA’s Office.

Read more:
External Link