Getty Museum in LA to return illegally exported art to Italy

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. life-size / ˈlaɪfˈsaɪz / (adj.) – having the actual or real size of the person or thing that something represents

    The life-size­ model of the dinosaur is the biggest sculpture in the museum.

  2. excavate / ˈɛks kəˌveɪt / (v.) – to get something out of the ground by digging

    The scientists excavated a treasure box in the old mansion’s garden.

  3. designate / ˈdɛz ɪgˌneɪt / (v.) – to choose or assign

    The group designated me to be the leader.

  4. divinity / dɪˈvɪn ɪ ti / (n.) – a god or goddess

    Our ancestors worshiped many divinities represented by statues.

  5. mold / moʊld / (n.) – a tool that is used to give shape to something poured or pressed to it

    It’s easy to make star cookies if you have a star-shaped mold.


Read the text below.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is returning ancient sculptures and other works of art that were illegally exported from Italy, the museum announced.

The Getty will return a nearly life-size group of Greek terra-cotta sculptures known as “Orpheus and the Sirens,” believed to date from the fourth century B.C., according to the museum.

The sculpture group was purchased by J. Paul Getty in 1976 shortly before his death and had been on display for decades.

However, the museum now believes they were illegally excavated and taken out of Italy, based on evidence uncovered by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the Getty said in a statement.

“It’s just extremely rare and there’s nothing similar in our collection, or closely similar in any collection,” Getty Museum director Timothy Potts told the Los Angeles Times. “It does leave a hole in our gallery but with this evidence that came forth, there was no question that it needed to be sent back to Italy.”

The fragile sculptures will be sent to Rome in September to join collections designated by the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Getty said.

The museum also is working with the Ministry of Culture to arrange the return of four other objects at a future date. Those include a “colossal marble head of a divinity” and a stone mold for casting pendants, both from the second century A.D., along with an Etruscan bronze incense burner from the fourth century B.C. and a 19th-century painting by Camillo Miola entitled “Oracle at Delphi,” the Getty said.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The sculptures called “Orpheus and the Sirens” were originally from Italy. Should all ancient sculptures or items like these be returned to their country of origin? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The museum will return the sculptures after the Manhattan district attorney’s office discovered they were obtained illegally. How do you think this will affect the reputation of the museum? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Would you buy a historical piece if you had the chance? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If you could create your own museum, what would you display (ex. different types of sweets, old writings)? Why? Discuss