The Medici Conspiracy : The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities-- From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums
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 exposes 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.
- Paperback | 448 pages
- 166 x 222 x 28mm | 532g
- 12 Jun 2007
- INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
- New York, United States
- New ed
- 16 pages b&w photographs
"The Medici Conspiracy is not, as its title might suggest, an allusion to historical Florentine intrigue - though the tale is worthy of such a connection... Written like a detective story... the book is a thoroughly researched, pacey and accessible read." The Guardian "The Medici Conspiracy documents convincingly - indeed takes the lid off - the extraordinary way that some of the world's most famous museums, aided by some of the most prominent collectors, have paid corrupt dealers millions of dollars to obtain notable antiquities looted from ancient sites in Italy and beyond and then illegally exported... At times the tale is as complex as The Da Vinci Code, but this time the cast is composed of real characters. This is not fiction.... Watson and Todeschini have written a fascinating account of conspiracy and corruption in high places. It will rock the world of the complacent collectors who ask no questions. It shows how several museums have undermined their own reputations. And it is a rattling good read." The Evening Standard "Watson combines methodical research with the tension of a thriller and genuine passion for his subject." Scotland on Sunday "(B)rilliant... This real-life conspiracy should oust The Da Vinci Code from every bookshelf" New Scientist "(G)ripping... As a portrait of venality, The Medici Conspiracy is both shocking and compelling." The Observer "Reading almost like a thriller at times, this is an exciting expose of a huge criminal trade." Publishing News"
About Peter Watson
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.