Jason Felch has an interesting story updating the long history of this bronze statue known either as the “Getty Bronze”, the “Fano athelete”, or the “Bronze statue of a victorious youth”. I wrote a very long summery of the dispute back in 2007. The statue was found by fisherman in the Adriatic in 1964, was smuggled out of Italy, and was eventually purchased by the Getty in 1977. As Felch rightly points out, this dispute does not fit neatly into the legal framework governing many antiquities dispute. This bronze really was found by accident, and early Italian attempt to prosecute the fisherman were unsuccessful.
The bronze was discussed a great deal in the very public battle between Italy and the Getty over other looted objects. There was a lack of direct evidence linking the Getty to any wrongdoing in the acquisition. However at “Times reporter” has uncovered a letter and other documents which reveal there were serious questions regarding the statue:
These documents should not come as any real surprise I don’t think. And though they may not provide enough of a legal basis to secure the return of the bronze, but they will add to the growing public pressure which Italy may try to exert to secure the return of the statue.
- Jason Felch, A twist in Getty Museum’s Italian court saga – latimes.com, L.A. Times, January 14, 2010.