The highest court in Italy has ordered the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to return an ancient Greek bronze statue that was found off the Adriatic coast of Italy in 1964, according to the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper.
The statue is believed to be the work of the Greek sculptor Lysippus.
A decade-long dispute has taken place between the museum and Italian government reading the ownership of the Victorious Youth, as the statue is called. The statue is also sometimes referred to as the “Getty Bronze”.
The ruling of the Court of Cassation in Rome was rejected by the museum.
The Roman court upheld the ruling of a local court in Pesaro, located in the Marche region of central Italy, where the statue was found by fishermen more than fifty years ago. It is believed that a Roman ship was transporting the bronze statue from Greece to Italy when it sank in the Adriatic.
The Getty Museum bought “Victorious Youth” in 1977 for $3.95 million from a German art dealer and it is currently on display at the Getty Villa, part of the Getty Museum.
Italian authorities claim that the statue was taken out of Italy illegally, without an export license. The museum maintains that the statue was found in international waters, and has only an incidental connection with Italy.