Thursday, December 9, 2010

Venus comes home!

Visitors at the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles are saying their farewells to an ancient Sicilian woman whose beauty will never pass: she's the Venus of Morgantina.

In just a few weeks, she will be traveling back to Sicily where she was "kidnapped" by tomb raiders and then sold on the international black-market during the 1980's.

In 1988 the Venus of Morgantina was bought by the Paul Getty Museum during a London auction for a reported 12 million dollars. After years of investigations, an Italian court was able to determine that the statue's tufa stone comes from a quarry in central Sicily.

The Italian-Swiss art dealer, who sold the statue to the English company illegally, which later auctioned it off to the Californian museum, was sentenced to two years in prison and to a fine of about 20 million Euros to be paid to the Italian government.

The "Venus" of Morgantina actually portrays one of the most venerated female divinities of ancient Sicily, i.e. either the beautiful Persephone or her mother Demeter.

Soon she will be back home in the Sicilian museum of Aidone, near Morgantina, where she came from. In this same museum a set of silver and gold tableware, including plates, bowls and platters, is also displayed. This set was also stolen in Morgantina and it was just recently sent back to Sicily from the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

No comments: