Judge in Italy orders return of Getty Bronze

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A judge in Italy has ordered the confiscation of the famed Statue of the Victorious Youth, which is also known as the Getty Bronze. The artwork, which dates from 300 B.C. to 100 B.C., is currently in the collection at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The decision was handed down Thursday by Judge Lorena Mussoni in Pesaro, Italy. The 37-page order demands that the statue be confiscated from the Getty and be immediately returned to Italy, according to reports.

The bronze, which appears to depict a young athlete, has been an object of contention between the Getty and Italy for years. In 2008, a court overturned a previous decision and rejected a request to return the statue to Italy.

The J. Paul Getty Trust said Thursday it will appeal the decision to the Court of Cassation in Rome and will defend its legal ownership of the statue.


‘The court’s order is flawed both procedurally and substantively,’ the museum said in a statement.

In the past, the museum has stated that it believes the bronze was found around 40 years ago in international waters and thus does not belong to Italy. The Getty said it acquired the statute in 1977.

Italy’s former culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, used Thursday’s ruling to proclaim victory. ‘Today marks the end of the sacking of our archaeological treasures,’' he was quoted as saying by ANSA, an Italian news service.

Check back with Culture Monster later today for more on the breaking news.

-- David Ng