Italy vs. Getty Museum over 'Getty Bronze': Settlement may be close

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Ancient Art/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

The 'Getty Bronze,' also known as the 'Victorious Youth.'

Italian officials say the J. Paul Getty Museum is displaying a valuable statue that belongs to their country. As an Italian court hashes things out, one foreign dignitary says he’s willing to broker a deal. Today, during a visit to the Southland, he discussed his efforts to compromise.

The Italian governor said he’s in Los Angeles to work something out with the Getty Museum – particularly over a bronze statue that’s 2,300-years-old. The art piece is of a sculpted, nude male athlete. It’s called the “Getty Bronze.”

Italian officials say that, more than four decades ago, fishermen off the coast of the country discovered the statue undersea and dragged it ashore. Somehow it ended up in Malibu at the Getty. An Italian court is trying to determine who gets it.

In the meantime, foreign leaders say they want to offer an olive branch compromise to the Getty to perhaps share the statue and other antiquities. An Italian dignitary toured the Getty last week.

He says museum officials gave a warm reception but no deal. He wouldn’t give details about a proposed compromise because of the ongoing legal issues.

This isn’t the first squabble over priceless art between the Getty and the people of Italy. The museum recently had to return its prized seven-foot Aphrodite statue back to Italy after displaying it for more than a decade. Italian officials say it’s one of dozens of objects that shady art dealers stole and sold.

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