NEWS

Getty Museum to return another two artifacts

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has agreed to give back two ancient artifacts whose return Greece has sought for more than a decade, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday. The pieces - a gold wreath dating to the 4th century BC and a marble statue of a young woman dating to the 6th century BC - are the final two in a list of four objects owned by the Getty which, Greece has long claimed, had been smuggled out of the country before the museum acquired them. «We have agreed in principle on the return of two ancient objects from the Getty Museum's collection... that the Greek Culture Ministry has been seeking,» said a joint declaration from the ministry and the LA museum. The official agreement, to be signed soon, will give details about the date of the handover and include plans for future cooperation between the ministry and the museum, the statement said. The announcement added that a «collaborative, analytical approach» had also led to the return of two other antiquities from the Getty over the summer and was «the appropriate way to resolve complex ownership claims involving ancient works of art.» The other two pieces sought by Greece - a 4th-century-BC funeral stele and a 5th-century-BC engraved sculpture - were returned by the Getty in August. «The way we got the objects back from the Getty is a very good example of how we can reclaim such artifacts,» Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told a press conference yesterday. «Athens will now seek to cooperate with the museum in the form of long-term leases of artifacts or joint exhibitions,» Voulgarakis said. «We are not interested in raiding museums but do not want to have antiquities leaving Greece illegally,» he said.

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