Art law Italy

No decision in 'Getty Bronze' restitution case

Could be another year before Italian court decides the fate of the Victorious Youth

The Victorious Youth

The outcome of a long-running restitution battle between Italy and the Getty over a 2,300-year-old statue remains uncertain after the latest court hearing in Rome.

Italy's Court of Cassation had been expected to decide definitively whether to uphold a lower court's order that the J. Paul Getty Trust return the ancient Greek statue known as the Athlete of Fano or the Victorious Youth to the Italian state. Instead, it ruled yesterday that the case would be passed to the Constitutional Court, further delaying the fate of the “Getty Bronze”. The date of the next hearing has not been set. “My best guess is that there would not be any decision for another year,” Stephen Clark, the Getty's general counsel, told the Los Angeles Times.

The statue, which is currently on view in Los Angeles at the Getty Villa, was discovered by Italian fishermen off the Adriatic coast near Fano in 1964. It entered the Getty's collection in 1977. Italy requested the object's return in 2009, claiming that the piece had been illegally exported and acquired in bad faith. The request was upheld in rulings by the regional court of Pesaro in 2010 and 2012, but the Getty appealed the order, maintaining that the statue was found in international waters beyond Italian jurisdiction.

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