Ancient terracotta sculptures get a hero’s welcome


Rome: Italy celebrated the return of three stolen historical terracotta figures, depicting “Orpheus and the Sirens”, in a ceremony on Saturday at Rome’s newly inaugurated Museum of Rescued Artwork.

Till this 12 months, the figures – which date to about 300 BC – had been on exhibit on the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. However Italian carabinieri officers within the nation’s artwork theft division uncovered incontrovertible proof final 12 months that the sculptures had been illegally excavated from a website in southern Italy, and the museum agreed to return them.

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced in August that it would ship back the nearly life-size group of statues known as <i>Orpheus and the Sirens</i>.

The J. Paul Getty Museum introduced in August that it will ship again the practically life-size group of statues generally known as Orpheus and the Sirens.Credit score:AP

The pinnacle of the carabinieri artwork theft division, Normal Roberto Riccardi, stated on Saturday on the ceremony that two moments from the investigation stood out. The primary was in March 2021, when two lieutenants in his squad had come into his workplace to report {that a} suspect in an ongoing investigation had come clear. The statues, the suspect had advised the officers, had been excavated by tomb robbers within the early Nineteen Seventies in a city near Taranto, in Puglia.

The second second of word, Riccardi stated, was precisely per week in the past in Los Angeles, “on the Getty Museum, the place the work had ended up”. “To see this work being packed up was actually one of many biggest issues of my life,” Riccardi stated.

“Orpheus and the Sirens” can be on non permanent exhibit on the Rome museum, conceived as a showcase for repatriated artwork, earlier than turning into a part of the everlasting assortment of Taranto’s archaeological museum.

“I can’t assist however assume that in 10, in 100, in 1000 years, somebody will go to the museum in Taranto will see the statues of their rightful place,” stated Riccardi. Artwork can and ought to be seen in all places, he stated, “nevertheless it needs to be achieved legally.”


Within the 53 years because the carabinieri artwork squad was based, it has recovered hundreds of artifacts stolen from church buildings, museums, non-public properties and libraries, and uncovered numerous fakes. Previously twenty years, many archaeological artifacts have been recovered from museums and personal collections worldwide, together with some in america, typically bought at a time when due diligence was not strictly utilized to find out whether or not their provenance was authorized.

This month, the Manhattan’s district lawyer’s workplace seized 27 historical artifacts valued at greater than $US13 million ($19 million) from the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York, asserting that the objects had all been looted.

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