The Conference at the Getty Museum which was convened to study the “Cult Statue of a Goddess”, probably of Aphrodite, took place last week. I discussed this before here. The NY Times discussed it last week here. Lee Rosenbaum gives her take here.
As I’ve said, scientific study is welcome, however the dysfunctional antiquities market gave us a situation where we have a very beautiful Greek statue but are unsure about where it came from. The Getty has already agreed to return the statute, but has taken 1 year to study it.
Sharon Waxman wrote in the NY Times: The Getty has not reached a formal conclusion based on the conference, which was convened at the museum on Wednesday and was closed to the public. But museum officials and some of the experts who attended said their discussions buttressed what the museum says are its own suspicions that the statue, acquired by the Getty in 1988, might have been illegally excavated in southern Italy.
So the panel has suspicions that the statue came from Sicily, but no clear evidence. Clearly the Getty has dramatically shifted the way it acquires antiquities. Since last October it has used 1970 and the UNESCO Convention as a starting date for new acquisitions. The Getty does not appear to be contributing to the illicit trade at present, and that may be the most welcome development. It will be interesting to guage Italy’s response in the coming months.