May 20, 2023

Anna Pelagotti
Anna Pelagotti

A Pompeian fresco loaned for the “Alexandria: Past Futures” exhibition returned severely damaged, but nobody assumes responsibility

The exhibition, held first in Brussels and then in Marseilles, revisited the history and present of the Egyptian city, far from the myths and stereotypes traditionally associated with it.

On display are artefacts spanning eight centuries, from the foundation of the city by Alexander the Great (331 BC) to the advent of Christianity (381 AD), with forays into artefacts dating back to Byzantine, Arab-Islamic and even modern times.

Among the works on display there is also a torn Pompeian fresco, depicting the myth of Io. Here the girl loved by Zeus is depicted when, embarked on a journey to escape the wrath of Hera, arrives in Canopus, near Alexandria, and is welcomed by Isis in a royal pose with her little son Harpocrates and the followers of her mystery cult. The fresco refers to an original from Alexandria, demonstrating the influence of the Egyptian city on the entire Mediterranean area.

According to what is documented by the archaeologist Valentina Porcheddu, however, the work has returned damaged to the MANN (National Archaeological Museum of Naples). Covered by cracks and deep fractures, which someone has tried to veil, as in the picture.

From the Archaeological Museum of Naples they say that the fresco was sent and managed in compliance with the established safety protocols. Furthermore, it is pointed out that if the work had not been in perfect condition, it would never have left the Neapolitan city.

We hope that an adequate Condition Report has been drawn up, and that the transport of the work and its conservation conditions have been monitored.

At Art-Test we have created a transport document for works of art, the Fine Art – Transport Document (FA-DDT), according to the terminology currently used for general shipments. The FA-DDT contains the essential information in a concise but effective format and gives the possibility of immediate control of the work at the end of each move, whatever it may be. It will also be useful for a first presentation of the work during a “vision”, saving time, energy and money, without compromising on quality.

Traveling works of art is always an opportunity for growth, but also a risk. However, there are technologies to minimize it. Let’s use them.