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Barry Bergdoll

(b Cologne, June 15, 1790; d Paris, Dec 31, 1853).

French architect, writer and archaeologist of German birth. In 1810 he left Cologne with his lifelong friend J. I. Hittorff for Paris, enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1811 under the tutelage of the ardent Neo-classicists Louis-Hippolyte Lebas and François Debret. But from the beginning Gau was exposed to a wider field of historical sources, first as assistant site architect under Debret on the restoration of the abbey church of Saint-Denis (1813–15) and then from 1815 in Nazarene circles in Rome, where he met the archaeologist and philologist Barthold Nieburh (1776–1831), who arranged a scholarship for him from the Prussian government and a trip through the eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt Gau undertook an arduous trip down the Nile to visit and record the monuments of Nubia, which he published as the lavish folio Antiquités de la Nubie. He noted assiduously every trace of colour on the remains, just as he was to do in ...

Article

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Article

Diane Harris

( fl mid-1st century ad ).

Greek bronze sculptor, active in Rome and Gaul . His name (‘foreign gift’) suggests that he may have been born in Massalia (Marseille), Asia Minor, Egypt or Syria, and according to Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.xviii.46) he was the foremost sculptor of colossal statues of the 1st century ad. From ad 54 to 64 Zenodoros worked in Arvernis, Gaul, making a bronze statue of Mercury, for which he was paid 40 million sesterces. Nero commissioned him to make a colossal imperial portrait c. 36 m high, which was placed in his palace, the Domus Aurea in Rome (Pliny: XXXIV.xviii.45–6; Suetonius: Nero xxxi). During the reign of Vespasian ( ad 69–79) it was converted into a statue of the Sun god, Sol (Aelius Spartianicus: Hadrian XIX.xii; Herodian: I.xv.9; Pliny: XXXIV.xviii.45). A replica of the Mercury was known in Corinth in antiquity (Pausanias: Guide to Greece II.iii.4) and several extant copies may reflect the original appearance of the statue. The colossal statue of ...