Posted: 03.05.2024 13:16:00

European court supported Italy in dispute with US museum over Greek statue return

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favour of Italy’s long-standing demand for the Getty Villa Museum in the US to return the ancient Greek statue which was allegedly smuggled out of the country several decades ago, Reuters reports


The life-size bronze statue – known as the ‘Victorious Youth’ – was made by Greek sculptor Lysippos between 300 and 100 BC and discovered in 1964 by a fisherman in the Adriatic Sea, near the central Italian city of Pedaso.

“After being sold several times, it was bought in 1977 in Munich by the Getty Trust for $3.95m. It is now on display at the Getty Villa Museum, California, which showcases Greek and Roman antiquities,” the publication reads

According to the news agency, Italy always believed that the statue was taken out of the country and acquired illegally, and made several attempts to return it, including with the help of international law enforcement and diplomacy. In its decision, the ECHR noted that the confiscation order issued by Italy’s highest court in 2019 and aimed at returning the exhibit was reasonable and ‘proportionate to the purpose of returning an object that was part of Italy’s cultural heritage’. The European Court of Human Rights also said that the Italian authorities proved that the statue is part of the country’s cultural heritage and that the Getty Foundation ‘disregarded the requirements of the law’ by buying the statue in the absence of any proof of its legitimate provenance.