The Getty Museum in Los Angeles will return works of art illegally exported to Italy

LOS ANGELES– The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is returning ancient sculptures and other works of art illegally exported from Italy, the museum announced Thursday.

The Getty will return a nearly life-size group of Greek terracotta sculptures known as “Orpheus and the Sirens”, believed to date from the 4th century BC, according to the museum.

The sculpture group was purchased by J. Paul Getty in 1976 shortly before his death and had been on display for decades.

However, the museum now believes they were illegally excavated and removed from Italy, based on evidence uncovered by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the Getty said in a statement.

“It’s just extremely rare and there’s nothing like it in our collection, or anything like it in any collection,” Getty Museum director Timothy Potts told the Los Angeles Times. “It leaves a hole in our gallery, but with this evidence that has been presented, there was no doubt that he should be sent back to Italy.”

The fragile sculptures will be sent to Rome in September to join collections designated by the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Getty said.

The museum is also working with the Ministry of Culture to arrange for the return of four other objects at a later date. These include a “colossal marble head of a deity” and a stone mold for casting pendentives, both from the 2nd century AD, as well as a bronze Etruscan incense burner from the 4th century BC and a 19th-century painting by Camillo Miola titled “Oracle at Delphi,” the Getty said.

ABC News

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