Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson is a professor at the City College of New York.

Foulest, Vilest, Obscenest: Smashing Images

Erin Thompson, 27 January 2022

Onthe evening of 22 August 1566, a crowd gathered in the town of ’s-Hertogenbosch to listen to an open air sermon by an itinerant Protestant preacher. Afterwards they rushed from church to church, singing psalms and smashing images. Two days later, the reformers held their first sermon in the town cathedral, now purified of the paintings and statues they believed tempted churchgoers...

From The Blog
15 December 2020

As soon as the auction was announced, scholars protested at the sale of potentially looted antiquities to support an organisation that wants to bring classics to the masses (which is a bit like trying to support a charity that helps protect people from human trafficking by auctioning off the services of an undocumented worker to clean your house without pay). Admirably, Classics for All soon responded by withdrawing from the auction.

From The Blog
17 April 2020

Once, after a lovely evening of drinks and dinner, my date invited me back to his apartment to see the Greek vases he had inherited from his godparents. I’m an art historian who studies the criminal underside of the antiquities market. As he rooted around in his cupboards, I tried to think of the most tactful way to tell him that the vases, bought without any information about their source, had probably been looted from an archaeological site. He finally unearthed them from an old Tupperware box above his refrigerator. The objects he plunked down in front of me had clearly not been looted. ‘Oh, but these are all fakes!’ I blurted out with relief. Way to ruin a date.

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