Sunday, March 27, 2011

Italy seeks compromise with Getty Museum over antiquities

PACIFIC PALISADES- The governor of a state in Italy says he will offer an olive branch compromise to the Getty Museum in the long-running dispute over priceless antiquities allegedly looted for display in California.

Gov. Gian Mario Spacca has scheduled a press conference for Monday to "detail his plan to resolve the dispute," a spokeswoman for the state of Marcha announced today.

The plan was described as "an innovative peace treaty in the long- raging battle with the J. Paul Getty Museum over antiquities that Italy claims are rightfully theirs and were illicitly trafficked and sold to the Getty."

The announcement comes several weeks after a centerpiece of the Getty Museum's antiquities collection, a statue called "Aphrodite," was shipped back to Italy after more than a decade on display at the "Getty Villa" museum in Pacific Palisades, near Malibu.

The iconic seven-foot Aphrodite statue was purchased by the Getty in 1988 for $18 million. It was a centerpiece at the Getty Villa and helped build the museum's reputation as a global cultural force.

But Italy claimed the statue had been looted, and sold by a shady art dealer to the Getty. Italian police escorted the 7-foot-tall, 2,300-pound limestone and marble sculpture back to Italy two weeks ago.

The Italian government and the Getty are still locked in conflict another great antiquity: a 2,300-year-old bronze statue that is a star of the Getty collection: the "Victorious

Youth." This bronze was discovered undersea by a fisherman in 1964, and made its way to the Malibu coast under mysterious circumstances.

"Gov. Spacca will appeal to the museum to act in an ethical manner befitting a world-class cultural institution and quickly resolve the conflict," the governor's Los Angeles-based publicist said today.

The Getty was evaluating the governor's announcement early Sunday and did not have immediate comment.

Gabrielle Union Radha Mitchell Scarlett Johansson Chandra West AnnaLynne McCord

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