Priceless Roman mosaic spent 50 years as a coffee table in New York apartment

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

They couldn’t have provided a better photo with this article?


I have very mixed feelings about this. Boat was sank in antiquity. They found the mosaic floor in the 30s. Nazi stole it in the 40s. An Italian art dealer bought it (allegedly) from an Italian noble 45 years ago. A book author over heard a youth tell the woman that she had the mosaic from his book in her house. Author tracked down the youth to find the mother and return the mosaic to Italy. It does not say if the woman was compensated but does say the authors soul hurts for what he did even though he thinks he did the right thing which implies she was not compensated. Just very mixed feelings on this whole thing…would have been better to let her keep it until death than off to a museum rather than take something someone has had for 45 years. On the other hand stolen art should be returned to discourage future art thieves and demand for art.


The Smithsonian article linked elsewhere says this all happened 4 years ago; why is it in the news now?


>I felt very sorry for her,” Del Bufalo said of Fioratti, “but I couldn’t do anything different, knowing that my museum in Nemi is missing the best part that went through the centuries, through the war, through a fire, and then through an Italian art dealer, and finally could go back to the museum. That’s the only thing I felt I should have done.” Apparently not sorry enough to pay her for it ….


This would be a good addition to the coffee table book about coffee tables