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Getty Museum to Return Ancient Artifacts to the Motherland

James Cuno (left), President & CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, and Pavlos Yeroulanos (right), Minister of Culture and Tourism of Greece

An agreement was made to send two ancient Greek artifacts back to the motherland from the Getty Museum in an attempt to reunify, repatriate and showcase Greek antiquities in their country of origin.

In collaboration with Pavlos Yeroulanos, Minister of Culture and Tourism for the Hellenic Republic and James Cuno, the Chief Executive officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the proposed agreement will help convey the richness of Greek culture to American audiences and Greek natives, while drawing more visitors to Greece.

The two ancient artifacts are fragments of a grave marker and a Greek language inscription, which were acquired in 1979 by the Getty Museum. The fragments join directly to another piece of the sculpture currently on display in the Kanellopoulos Museum in Athens.

In a statement the Getty explained, “The grave marker fragments, which have never been on view at the Getty, depict two female figures, a woman seated on the left and a slave in front with her right hand on her cheek. The work is a fine example from an Attic sculpture workshop and dates to the late 5th century B.C. The inscribed stele, which has text on the front and two flanking sides, describes sacrifices and festivals celebrated in Thorikos, in southeast Attica, in honor of local deities and heroes. Dated from 430 to 420 B.C., the inscription consists of 65 lines and is incomplete in the upper left part.”

With the fragmented artifacts scattered between the U.S and Greece, the agreement to reunite culture and ancient history will “encourage the exchange of scientists and scholars in the fields of archaeology, art history, conservation, cultural information technology and other fields of common interest in research and training,” through both entities.

The promotion of Greek culture, nationally and internationally may help draw more visitors to Greece while excelling nationalism and tourism during economic distress.

Cuno said, “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to join Minister Yeroulanos in signing this framework which strengthens an already excellent relationship between the Getty and the Hellenic Republic. This agreement is consistent with the Getty’s strong acquisitions policy and equally strong regard for scholarship as the basis for resolving issues and collaborating on projects of mutual interest.”

In a statement, Minister Yeroulanos said, “The Hellenic Republic and the Getty share a mutual interest and concern about issues of cultural heritage and the framework we signed today benefits both parties.”

Yerlulanos explained the agreement sets the foundation for a long-term partnership and exchange of scholars and joint research projects that will expand the world’s understanding of Greek culture.

“The Getty is committed to the preservation of the world’s artistic legacy and this agreement with Greece advances our effort,” Cuno said.

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