March 28, 2011

"The Getty Bronze" and the Region of Marche: In the shadow of a pending court case in Italy, officials from Marche visit Los Angeles, meet with the Getty, and hold a press conference to underscore their desire for a 'cultural relationship' between Los Angeles and Marche

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor

CENTURY CITY - 'Governor' Gian Mario Spacca, president of the Marche region of Italy, held a press conference this morning to discuss his proposal to the Getty Museum for a cultural relationship between the institution which owns the "Getty Bronze" and the region from which it was fished out of the ocean almost six decades ago, weeks before an Italian judge reaches a decision about the status of the 'Victorious Youth', known in the Adriatic region as 'Atleta di Fano.'

Governor Spaaca & "The Athlete of Fano"
Spacca said that the purpose of his trip was not to fight with the Getty Museum, but to establish cooperation 'on universal values such as culture', he said through an interpreter at a conference room in the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City on the westside of Los Angeles, just 12 miles from where the Greek statue resides today in Malibu as it has since 1977 after being purchased for nearly $4 million.

The ancient Greek bronze, the subject of a book by Carol C. Mattush published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, "is one of a very few life-size bronzes from ancient Greece known to exist in the world today," according to The Getty website. "It was found in the sea in international waters," The Getty explains here.

The 'Victorious Youth', which even has its own Facebook page, known as the 'Atleta di Fano', has been a subject of controversy for years. Governor Spacca, as he's identified by his press release, said that he hopes to avoid another ugly 'Morgantina experience" referring to last week's return of the Getty's $18 million Aphrodite to Sicily after years of dispute and revelations of illegal excavation and smuggling, as reported by Jason Felch in The Los Angeles Times ("Getty Ships Aphrodite Statue to Sicily"). You may read further about the Fano Athlete here, here, here, and here.

At the press conference today, Governor Spacca said that 'our goal' is to place it in one of the many museums in either Ancona or Fano in the region of Marche on the Adriatic, a place that was once the "Iron Curtain" between the ancient Roman and Greek cultures. 'Our goal is to give the people the possibility of admiring the statue and of knowing their great cultural heritage,' Governor Spacca said through an interpreter. "Having the statue back would be an extraordinary feeling and going back to ancient identity of the Adriatic culture."

Governor Spacca had met with the Getty Museum who had said that the institute would be waiting for the end of the legal proceedings in Italy before starting to deal with the Italian government. Jason Felch continued his in-depth coverage yesterday here.

"Our proposal is regardless of the judge's ruling," Governor Spacca told the media Monday. "We offer a region rich in cultural and Renaissance heritage."

You may see more about the Region of Marche through the website here.

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