Service of Laura Larcan – Video by Francesco Toiati
Orpheus sitting opens his mouth and sings, accompanied by the sound of the lyre that he elegantly holds in his hands, and in his presence the two mermaids stand out, hybrid creatures, with raptor’s claws and fish tail, splendid and terrible, who are instead kidnapped and bewitched from that harmony of song. From ravenous enchantresses, they become meek and seduced. And Orpheus triumphs in that mythical clash with nature, in the service of Jason and the Argonauts. This is how Apollonio Rodio told them and thus they appear in the new setting chosen for their first exhibition in Rome, in the Museum of Salvated Art at the former Planetarium of the Roman National Museum. The extraordinary terracotta sculptural group from the 4th century BC returned to Italy, repatriated after being illegally excavated in Taranto in the 1970s and illegally transported to the United States, overwhelmed by the criminal network of grave robbers, fences, unscrupulous merchants, a bank in Switzerland as a free port and sale at the Getty Museum in Malibu in Los Angeles. A long investigative activity opened by the Taranto Public Prosecutor’s Office and conducted by the Carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection nucleus which now finds its crown. With the satisfaction of the Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini: “Still an extraordinary masterpiece of art – he declares – which had been illegally stolen from us and which is part of our beauties ». The sculptural group, almost life-size, of a sweet and elegant beauty, that «for the return trip he was insured for 8 million US dollars», will remain on display in the capital until October 15, then he will return to his homeland, at the Marta Museum in Taranto.
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