Getty Museum Plans to Appeal Italian Court Order to Return Greek Bronze Victorious Youth Statue

Photo Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust

On Friday, June 8, an Italian court ruled that the famous Greek bronze statue known as “Statue of a Victorious Youth” was to be returned to Italy.

The statue currently resides at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the institution claims that it is there under legal circumstances and that the Italian court, which ruled the statue was exported from Italy illegally, is in the wrong.

The Italian culture ministry has been trying to have the Statue of a Victorious Youth returned to Italy since 1989 on the argument of “ethical grounds”.

“The statue is not part of Italy’s extraordinary cultural heritage,” Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig said in a statement. “Accidental discovery by Italian citizens does not make the statue an Italian object. Found outside the territory of any modern state, and immersed in the sea for two millennia, the Bronze has only a fleeting and incidental connection with Italy.”

The statue is believed to have been created by none other than Lysippus, Alexander the Great’s personal sculptor, and dates back to 300 to 100 BC.

An Italian fisherman first discovered it in 1964 in international waters. He sold the statue and the J. Paul Getty Museum eventually bought it from a German dealer in 1977.

The museum will appeal the ruling according to Hartwig who said he was “disappointed” by Italian Judge Giacomo Gasparini’s ruling this month, according to artforum.com.