J. Paul Getty Museum “Originally painted in bright colors, this large-scale sculptural ensemble is an outstanding example of the terracotta production characteristic of the Greek colonies of the southern part of the east. Italy”, explains the American museum Getty.
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles will return to Italy in September the life-size ancient terracotta sculptures forming the fabulous Orpheus and the Sirens ensemble, which depicts the mythological hero at the lyre seated with two mermaids.
One of the centerpieces of the museum, where it has been exhibited for more than forty years now, this jewel was purchased by J. Paul Getty in 1976.
< p>Recent research proves that several of the exhibits, including the Orpheus, have been stolen or come from illegal excavations. “Based on information provided by Matthew Bogdanos and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office Antiquities Trafficking Unit indicating the illegal excavation of Orpheus and the Sirens, we have determined that these items should be returned. ,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times.
A set that had been looted in southern Italy
According to the Getty, the group of figures, dating to around 350-300 BCE, is likely to have once decorated a grave. “Originally painted in bright colors, this large-scale sculptural ensemble is an outstanding example of the terracotta production characteristic of the Greek colonies in southern Italy,” the filing for the work.
The Getty has already returned dozens of objects to Rome in recent years, but the management of the establishment has rejected other claims. Under a 2018 decision from Italy's highest court, challenged by the American museum, he must, for example, return a bronze statue of a young Victory.
In March, a archaeologist also demonstrated that elements of a mosaic exhibited at the Getty had passed into the hands of a known antiquities trafficker. But the museum did not react to these latest discoveries.