Italy’s relationship with J. Paul Getty museum has gone sour following the museum’s appeal of a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court, ordering the return of a prized ancient Greek artwork.
Titled “Statue of a Victorious Youth, 300-100 B.C.”, the life-sized Greek bronze – one of the few of its kind to have survived – was recovered by Italian fishermen off the Adriatic coast in 1964.
Thirteen years later, after changing hands several times, it was purchased by Getty for $4 million, where it has been held since.
The museum on the outskirts of Los Angeles, known for its collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, has returned 40 ancient artefacts to Italy since 2007, under an agreement that allowed for long-term loans of other pieces.
But the contested masterpiece – nicknamed the “Getty Bronze” – was left out of the deal and in 2010 a court order to be seized and returned to Italy, amidst the country’s campaign for repatriation of looted art, marked the beginning of a legal battle.
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