Thursday, August 02, 2007


The Getty Museum is returning forty antiquities to Italy:
After long negotiations, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has agreed to hand over 40 objects from its antiquities collection that Italy contends were looted from its soil, the two sides said on Wednesday.

A fifth-century B.C. statue of a cult deity usually identified as Aphrodite, one of the Getty’s prized pieces, is among the works to be returned to Italy, the Italian Culture Ministry and the museum’s governing trust said in a joint statement. But discussions on the fate of another statue, a fourth-century-B.C. bronze of a young athlete that was pivotal to the breakdown of earlier negotiations, have been temporarily put aside so that an Italian court can conduct an inquiry on how the artifact was found and how it left Italy in the 1960s.

This is part of a healthy process, I think, although it seems that there also needs to be a provable provenance, and even then probably a statute of limitations.

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