published : 2023-09-06

Bronze Bust Seized from Massachusetts Museum in New York Antiquities Investigation

Authorities confiscate 'Portrait of a Lady' believed to depict ancient Roman emperor's daughter

A close-up photo of the seized bronze bust 'Portrait of a Lady' taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

A bronze bust believed to depict the daughter of an ancient Roman emperor has been seized from an art museum in Massachusetts by New York authorities investigating antiquities stolen from Turkey.

The seizure is part of an ongoing investigation into a smuggling network that trafficked objects looted from Bubon in southwestern Turkey through Manhattan. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's spokesperson has not provided further details of the investigation.

The bust, known as 'Portrait of a Lady,' was acquired by the Worcester Art Museum in 1966. Recently, the Manhattan district attorney's office also seized a statue believed to portray the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius from a museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

An artistic black and white shot of the Worcester Art Museum, where the bronze bust was acquired in 1966, captured with a Nikon D850.

Worcester Art Museum officials state that the seized bust dates back to A.D. 160-180 and could represent a daughter of Marcus Aurelius or another Roman emperor, Septimius Severus. However, limited information about its history was available at the time of acquisition.

The director of the museum, Matthias Waschek, expressed gratitude for the newfound information, stating that the museum is committed to managing its collection in compliance with modern ethical standards.

Described as a life-sized portrayal, the bronze bust depicts a young woman with an enigmatic gaze and meticulously styled wavy hair.

A mesmerizing image of a young woman with a heavy-lidded gaze and carefully styled wavy hair, reminiscent of the bronze bust in the article, beautifully photographed with a Sony Alpha a7R III.

These recent seizures in the investigation highlight the complexities surrounding looted antiquities and their illicit trade. The case raises questions about the provenance and ethical responsibilities of museums.

Turkey had previously claimed ownership of the Marcus Aurelius statue in 2012, listing it as one of the objects allegedly looted from Bubon and other locations. However, the Cleveland museum denied the accusations due to a lack of hard evidence provided by Turkey.

As the investigation unfolds, the fate of these seized antiquities remains uncertain, stirring anticipation in the art world and raising wider discussions about the global trade in stolen cultural artifacts.