Getty Museum to return additional ancient pieces to Greece
The J. Paul Getty Museum said Thursday that it will return two ancient artifacts to Greece as part of a new agreement with the country's ministry of culture. The museum said the agreement was signed Thursday by James Cuno, the president of the Getty Trust, and Pavlos Yeroulanos, Greece's minister of culture and tourism.
The objects in question are fragments of a grave marker and a Greek language inscription, both
acquired in the 1970s, according to the Getty. The museum said the grave-marker fragments have never gone on display in L.A. and that they are part of a larger work depicting female forms that dates from the 5th century BC.
The Getty said that the Greek-language inscription features 65 lines describing sacrifices and festivals celebrated in Thorikos, in southeast Attica. The work dates from 430 to 420 BC and is currently on view at the Getty Villa.
As part of Thursday's agreement, the Getty and the ministry of culture are planning cultural exchanges of scientists and scholars in the fields of archaeology, conservation, art history and other fields.
David Bomford, the acting director of the Getty Museum, said in a statement that the intent is "to develop long-term plans with the Ministry that will bring spectacular works to Los Angeles that further our visitors' understanding of Greek history and art."
In recent years, the Getty has been embroiled in antiquities disputes with Greece and Italy over looted artifacts. The disputes stem from former Getty curator Marion True, who was accused of purchasing illegally excavated items.
The Getty has already returned a few pieces to Greece, including a golden funerary wreath and three other items. In 2007, a Greek court dropped charges against True for her role in the acquisition of the wreath.
-- David Ng
Photo: The Getty Villa near Malibu. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times