Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Italy's Court of Cassation rejects Getty Museum's Appeal Against Court Ruling on the Getty Bronze

Getty Museum
Italy's Court of Cassation rejects the J. Paul Getty Museum's appeal against the lower court ruling on the Getty Bronze. The statue, known as “Victorious Youth,” should be returned to that country by the Getty Villa (Gaia Pianigiani, 'Italian Court Rules Getty Museum Must Return a Prized Bronze', The New York Times, December 4, 2018)
The bronze was retrieved from Adriatic waters by Italian fishermen in 1964. After a decade-long legal battle, Italy’s Court of Cassation ruled Monday that the statue should be confiscated and brought back to Italy, rejecting the Getty’s appeal. The decision had not been published Tuesday but a message from a court official describing it was provided to The New York Times. “It was a very, very long process, but we now hope that we will be able to have it in Italy as soon as possible,” said Lorenzo D’Ascia, a lawyer representing the Italian government. 
Italian officials now plan to ask the United States Justice Department to enforce the ruling by seizing the statue. That would be likely to lead to another court battle in the United States. The statue is one of the finest original bronzes from the Classical era, probably fashioned in ancient Greece and lost at sea after being stolen by the Romans. The Getty, who acquired the bronze in 1977 for $3.95 million, has long argued that the statue was probably created outside Italy and was discovered in international waters after thousands of years, so it is not an Italian object subject to repatriation.
In response to news of the ruling, Lisa Lapin, vice president for communications at the Getty Trust, said in a statement on Monday: “We will continue to defend our legal right to the statue. The law and facts in this case do not warrant restitution to the Italian government of a statue that has been on public display in Los Angeles for nearly a half-century.” She added, “We believe any forfeiture order is contrary to American and international law.”

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