The exhibition, on view from February 13 to May 19, 2009, presents 30 Late Antique works (395-642 A.D.), many genuine, alongside reworked or repainted objects and a number of modern forgeries in an ambitious attempt to explain how imitations made their way into the institution since World War II.
Issues of Authenticity
Carved from a soft Egyptian limestone, the sculptures on view are rich in pagan and Christian symbolism. Funerary portraits are joined by statuary from Coptic cemeteries, churches and monasteries. Many were acquired in the 1960s and 1970s, a period when scholars knew very little about these works of art in European and American collections. Suspicions about their authenticity subsequently developed. Now experts believe that the Late Antique forgeries were carved from ancient stone remnants. Their emphasis on Christian themes and iconography reflect the interests and tastes of the sculptures' buyers at the time of their purchase.
Stan goes on to list those artefacts in the display which are genuine and those which are probably forgeries. There are some excellent photographs to accompany the piece.