November 10, 2016
On 9 November 2016, Andrzej Jakubowski held a guest lecture entitled ‘Gli effetti giuridici dei trasferimenti territoriali sulla protezione del patrimonio culturale e sulla attuazione dei diritti culturali – l’esempio di Pirano e dei suoi beni culturali [Legal Effects of Territorial Transfers on the Protection of Cultural Heritage and Realisation of Cultural Rights – the Example of Piran and Its Cultural Treasures]’, at the Museum Casa Tartini in Piran, Slovenia. The event was organised by the Association Comunità degli Italiani di Pirano ‘Casa Tartini’, an Italian community in Slovenia.
The lecture dealt with the controversial question of territorial and cultural pertinence of almost 100 works of art from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries by the most prominent artists of the Republic of Venice such as: Benedetto and Vittorio Carpaccio, Cima da Conegliano, Alvise Vivarini, Jacopo Palma il Giovane, and Giambattista Tiepolo. Until 1940–1941, these treasures had been preserved in three coastline municipalities of Italian Istria: Koper (Capodistria), Piran (Pirano), and Izola (Isola), known now as the Slovenian Littoral or Primorska. In 1940, before the war with Yugoslavia, Italian authorities decided to evacuate the most valuable works of art from their eastern borders, including objects from the churches and museums of Istria. The removal, ordered for preservation reasons, was done in conformity with domestic Italian legislation and was approved by local and church administrations. In the beginning, the objects were gathered at a collection point in the province of Udine. In 1943, some were returned to the owners, for example, a priceless group of paintings from Saint Anne’s Church and Monastery in Koper. The majority of the works of art evacuated from the Slovenian Littoral were, however, sent to Rome where they remained sealed in wooden crates for the next 6- years. In 2005–2006, some of these objects were exhibited at the Revoltella Museum in Trieste. As a result of post-Second World War decisions, the Istrian peninsula became part of the territory of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). However, the allocation of Istria’s jewels has never been settled. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Slovenia—one of the SFRY successors states—asked for the return of the evacuated objects to the places where they had been commissioned and from which they had been taken. The issue has not been settled and some of the paintings are now displayed in the Museum Sartorio in Trieste (Italy).
The lecture, while addressing this international controversy in light of treaty law in force, emphasized the significance of human rights considerations, particularly the role of community participation in solving cultural heritage disputes.
The event was moderated by Andrea Bartole, Vice-President of the Association Comunità degli Italiani di Pirano ‘Casa Tartini’.
Press realise: jakubowski-articolo-voce-del-popolo-11_11_2016-1
An interview at Radio Capodistria is already available online.
A TV interview is available here: ‘Tuttoggi’ of 10 November 2016.
Images of some of the contested objects can be found here.