Sunday, February 28, 2010
"Dubious Victory"

I noted an interesting item in
"An Italian court has reportedly ordered the confiscation of the Greek bronze statue known as “Victorious Youth” from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Villa in Malibu, California. The Getty bought the statue in 1977."

We saw this piece at the Getty Villa last summer. The statue was in a special climate sealed room, with a door that kept out unwanted moisture. I'm glad we saw him while we still could:

Greek, 300 - 100 BCE
Bronze, 59 5/8 x 27 9/16 x 11 in.

"Found in the sea off the coast of Italy, this statue is one of the few life-size Greek bronzes to have survived", as the Getty website informs us.

I noticed an older news item and tracked it down. The Italians want it back. Certainly, a rather shady process of acquisition occurred. "In 1964, the Italian fishermen discovered the ancient bronze in international waters, the last surviving crew member told The Times in 2006. Instead of declaring their find to Italian customs officials, they buried it in a cabbage patch and sold it to middlemen, who hid it in a priest's bathtub before it was smuggled out of the country," according to the La Times.

Of course the seller's Italian lawyers "insisted that Italy had no claim to the statue." Getty considered acquiring the statue jointly with New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. But Met director Thomas Hoving wasn't interested, as:
"'It is clearly understood by us that no commitment is to be made by me on your behalf for the Greek Bronze until certain legal questions are clarified," [he] wrote to Getty in a June 1973 letter." (La Times)

After Getty's death in 1976, the Getty Museum went ahead with the deal, based on what the seller's lawyers said.

Meanwhile, all these years the town of Fano, where the statue was brought to shore, has been wanting it back. They have a life-size bronze replica at the entrance to its port.

However, they're forgetting something! This statue was originally from Greece, and the Italians plundered it from them! "The origin of the statue is unknown, but either Olympia or the youth's hometown is possible. Romans probably carried the statue off from its original location during the first century B.C. or A.D., when Roman collecting of Greek art was at its height." - Getty website.

"Lining the path to the athletic field at Olympia are a number of stone bases
that once supported bronze statues such as this one of a victorious youth."
Image and text from the Getty Museum's info plate

Sunday, March 7, 2010 A
"With a Grain of Salt"

I was visiting a website last night that was more than a little 'woo-woo'. Outrageous claims were being presented as 'facts'. I told Julia I was going to take it 'with a grain of salt'. Julia was purusing a Latin phrase website, and had just read "Cum grano salis" as I said 'with a grain of salt'. A fun synchonicity that I had to celebrate with a drawing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010 B
"With a Grain of Salt - Color Version"

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