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Italian Official Wants To Resolve Dispute With Getty Museum

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PACIFIC PALISADES (CBS) — An Italian governor says he will offer a compromise to the Getty Museum in an effort to end a long-running dispute over priceless antiquities.

Gov. Gian Mario Spacca has scheduled a press conference for Monday to “detail his plan to resolve the dispute,” a spokeswoman for the state of Marcha announced Sunday. The goal is to share the statue in a cultural exchange, KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports.

The plan was described as “an innovative peace treaty in the long-raging battle with the J. Paul Getty Museum over antiquities that Italy claims are rightfully theirs and were illicitly trafficked and sold to the Getty.”

Spacca toured the museum Friday and proposed that Bracha and the Getty set up a “future relationship,” according to Getty spokesperson Julie Jaskol.

“It was a friendly meeting and we were pleased that the president (governor) and his group were able to visit the Getty Villa,” she said.

The Italian announcement comes several weeks after a centerpiece of the Getty Museum’s antiquities collection, a statue called “Aphrodite,” was shipped back to Italy after more than a decade on display at the “Getty Villa” museum in Pacific Palisades, near Malibu.

The iconic seven-foot Aphrodite statue was purchased by the Getty in 1988 for $18 million. It was a centerpiece at the Getty Villa and helped build the museum’s reputation as a global cultural force.

However, Italy claimed the statue had been looted and sold by a shady art dealer to the Getty. Italian police escorted the seven-foot, 2,300-pound limestone and marble sculpture back to Italy two weeks ago.

The Italian government and the Getty are still locked in conflict over another great antiquity: a 2,300-year-old bronze statue that is a star of the Getty collection: the “Statue of a Victorious Youth.” This bronze was discovered undersea by a fisherman in 1964, and made its way to the Malibu coast under mysterious circumstances.

“Gov. Spacca will appeal to the museum to act in an ethical manner befitting a world-class cultural institution and quickly resolve the conflict,” the governor’s Los Angeles-based publicist said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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