A US museum has vowed to fight a decision by Italy’s highest court which this week ordered that a prized bronze statue at the center of an epic legal dispute be returned to Italy.
In a statement, the J. Paul Getty Museum said the more than 2,000-year-old statue named “Victorious Youth” was found in international waters in 1964 and was legally purchased by the museum in 1977.
“We will continue to defend our legal right to the statue,” Lisa Lapin, vice president for communications at the Getty Trust, said in a statement issued on Monday.
“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 that any forfeiture order “is contrary to American and International law.”
The decision handed down on Monday by Italy’s supreme court came after a decade-long legal battle over the sculpture, also known as the Getty Bronze or by the name of its presumed sculptor Lysippos, one of the most prized antiquities on display at the Getty Villa, located on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
“Now we hope the US authorities will act as soon as possible to favor restitution of the Lysippos to Italy,” Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli told the ANSA news agency following the court’s decision.
– ‘Final word from Italy’ –
The Getty, however, said it was not ready to surrender the relic.
Lapin said the museum had extensively researched the origins of the prized statue before purchasing it from an antiques dealer in Germany for $3.95 million, years after Italy’s highest court had concluded there was no evidence the object belonged to Italy.
“The statue is not and has never been part of Italy’s cultural heritage,” Lapin said. “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.”
Italian officials dispute Getty’s arguments and maintain that the life-size statue was found off Italy’s Adriatic coast by Italian fishermen and as such rightfully belongs to the state.
They say the statue was sold to an Italian art dealer after its discovery and was subsequently sold several times before it was smuggled illegally out of the country and eventually purchased by the Getty.
Last June, a judge in Pesaro, a coastal town on the Adriatic Coast, ruled that the statue be confiscated. The Getty museum had appealed the decision and Italy’s supreme court rejected the appeal on Monday.
Pesaro prosecutor Silvia Cecchi told local media that the court’s decision “was the final word from the Italian justice” system and that the statue must be returned.
“It must be very clear that the order is effective immediately and we will apply this principle by notifying the American authorities,” Cecchi said.
In 2007, following long negotiations, The Getty agreed to return more than 40 works of art to Italy after questions were raised about their provenance.
Trump has figured out how to get taxpayers to renovate one of his golf courses: MSNBC panel
President Donald Trump has figured out how to have taxpayers pay to renovate his Trump National Doral Miami golf course, according to an analysis by MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.
"Before setting himself on fire on Ukraine yesterday, Mick Mulvaney came into the White House briefing room to break to the nation the fact the that the Trump Doral golf resort turns out to be -- in his estimation, organically, just sitting there -- the best possible place to have a G-7 Summit of world leaders," MSNBC's Brian Williams reported. "That was provision number one. There’s no better place that we can find. Number two was, the president will not profit from said G-7."
Bill Maher reveals plan to ‘bribe’ Trump with one billion dollars — for him to leave office
The Constitution has two mechanisms to remove President Donald Trump from office prior to his term ending on January 20, 2021: impeachment and the 25th Amendment.
HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher noted that Trump could also choose to resign.
Maher waved around a $1 million check that he said he would give to Trump to quit.
He said he also knew 1,000 people who would do the same -- which would land Trump over $1 billion.
Maher said even poor people would pawn their wedding rings to add to the pot.
Trump can’t fire Mulvaney because nobody else wants to be his chief of staff: report
White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will likely stay on at the White House despite his public confession of a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal at the center of the impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reported Friday.
"But Mr. Mulvaney’s job has been anything but normal since the news conference on Thursday at which he seemingly undermined the Trump administration’s strategy for avoiding impeachment by acknowledging that Mr. Trump had sought a quid pro quo for providing Ukraine with American aid," the newspaper reported. "In the chaotic aftermath, the president’s Republican allies are questioning Mr. Mulvaney’s savvy and intelligence even as the Trump campaign is defiantly turning one of his lines from the news conference into a T-shirt."