the official website of author james twining
 
the novels meet james learn more blog

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The Apollo ivory mask

The Apollo ivory mask is one of the world's rarest and most important looted antiquities. A unique life-size ivory head of Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, it is from a fifth century BC chryselephantine statue. Many experts believe that it was carved by the classical sculptor Phidias, considered to have perhaps been the greatest of all Ancient Greek sculptors.

The mask was originally discovered in 1995 by notorious tombarolo (tomb robber) Pietro Casasanta [see here] near the remains of the Baths of Claudius, north of Rome.  The mask was seized from the London antiquities dealer Robin Symes in 2003, after he was presented with evidence that the statue had been illegally excavated and smuggled out of Italy.

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Caravaggio's nativity

Read about the theft and continued mystery surrounding the theft of one of Caravaggio's  greatest works, llisted by the FBI as one of its top ten art crimes

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Tomb robbing

Read about what goes on behind the scenes in the "world's second oldest profession"

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Medici scandal
To this day, no one knows exactly what caused the crash. What is clear now, however, is that his untimely death in August 1995 was to trigger the unravelling of a vast criminal network that stretched as far as some of America's most prestigious museums...

Getty kouros
The Getty Kouros, supposedly from the sixth century BC, was bought by the Getty from a Swiss dealer in 1983 for a reported $7-9 million and first exhibited there in 1986...

Further reading
A useful bibliography for those who want to know more ...


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