Curious Objects: Should Antiquities Return to Where they Came From?

Editorial Staff Curious Objects

The Euphronios Krater, Greek, c. 515 BC, pot by Euxitheos, decorations by Euphronios (active c. 520–c. 470). National Archaeological Museum of Cerveteri, Italy; photograph by Ismoon on Wikimedia Commons.

This week host Benjamin Miller engages Lillian Stoner, a scholar of classical antiquity, in a wide-ranging discussion about the quirks and inequities of provenance, tomb robbery, and repatriation as it concerns objects of the ancient world. Of particular concern is the infamous “hot pot” that was once on display in New York City: the Euphronios or Sarpedon Krater, a monumental bowl for mixing wine with water, decorated with red-figure paintings by the Attic virtuoso Euphronios. Acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for over $1 million in 1972, it was repatriated to Italy in 2008 after decades of investigations into its questionable origins. 

Lillian Bartlett Stoner is an award-winning American scholar of classical antiquity. Educated at Harvard University and the Institute of Fine Arts (New York University), she has excavated in Greece, Italy, and Turkey. A well-known interpreter of ancient art, Lily focuses upon the Greek and Roman periods, with an object-oriented approach and over a decade of managing installations and international exhibitions, and advising private clients and museums world-wide.