The Victorious Youth, also known as the Getty Bronze or Atleta di
Fano, is a Greek bronze sculpture, made between 300 and 100 BCE, in
the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Pacific Palisades,
California. On its first rediscovery
Bernard Ashmole and other
scholars attributed it to Lysippos, a grand name in the history of
Greek art; modern concerns are less with such traditional attributions
than with the original social context: where the sculpture was made,
for what context and who he might be.
2 Controversies with Italy
4 See also
6 External links
6.1 Newspaper articles
The sculpture was found in the summer of 1964 in the sea off
the Adriatic coast of Italy, snagged in the nets of an Italian fishing
trawler, the Ferri Ferruccio. After some furtive offering on the
antiquities gray market and vigorous competition with the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, it was acquired by the
Getty Museum in 1977.
The sculpture may have been part of the crowd of sculptures of
victorious athletes at Panhellenic Greek sanctuaries like
Olympia. His right hand reaches to touch the winner's olive wreath
on his head. The powerful head has led viewers to see it as a
portrait; the head was cast separately from the lithe body. The
athlete's eyes were once inlaid, probably with bone, and his nipples
are in contrasting copper.
The precise location of the shipwreck, which preserved this object
from being melted down like all but a tiny fraction of Greek bronzes,
has not been established; it seems most likely that a Roman ship
carrying looted objects was on its way to
Italy when it foundered. The
statue has been roughly broken off its former base, breaking away at
The Italian government has made claims for the return of the
sculpture, which the museum has rejected as unfounded.
Controversies with Italy
Getty Museum is involved in a controversy regarding proper title
to some of the artwork in its collection. The Museum's previous
curator of antiquities, Marion True, was indicted in
Italy in 2005
Robert E. Hecht on criminal charges relating to trafficking
in stolen antiquities. The primary evidence in the case came from the
1995 raid of a Geneva,
Switzerland warehouse which had contained a
fortune in stolen artifacts. Italian art dealer Giacomo Medici was
eventually arrested in 1997; his operation was thought to be "one of
the largest and most sophisticated antiquities networks in the world,
responsible for illegally digging up and spiriting away thousands of
top-drawer pieces and passing them on to the most elite end of the
international art market".
In a letter to the
J. Paul Getty Trust on December 18, 2006, True
stated that she is being made to "carry the burden" for practices
which were known, approved, and condoned by the Getty's Board of
Directors. True is currently under investigation by Greek
authorities over the acquisition of a 2,500-year-old funerary wreath.
On November 20, 2006, the Director of the museum, Michael Brand,
announced that twenty-six disputed pieces were to be returned to
Italy, but not the Victorious Youth.
In an interview to the Italian national newspaper Corriere della Sera
on December 20, 2006 the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage
Italy would place the museum under a cultural embargo if
all the 52 disputed pieces would not return home overseas. On August
1, 2007 an agreement was announced providing that the museum would
return 40 pieces to
Italy out of the 52 requested, among which the
Venus of Morgantina, which was returned in 2010, but not the
Victorious Youth, whose outcome will depend upon the results of the
criminal proceedings pending in Italy. On the very same day the public
prosecutor of Pesaro formally requested that the statue be confiscated
as it was unlawfully exported out of Italy, giving rise to a dispute
that came to the Constitutional Court.
^ The consensus is that the sculpture could date anywhere from the
late fourth through the second century BCE.
Carbon-14 dating does not
further narrow the range.
^ Other well-known underwater bronze finds have been retrieved,
generally from shipwreck sites, in the Aegean and Mediterranean: the
Antikythera mechanism, the
Antikythera Ephebe and the portrait head of
a Stoic discovered by sponge-divers at Antikythera in 1900, the Mahdia
shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia, 1907; the
Marathon Boy off the
coast of Marathon, 1925; the standing Poseidon of Cape Artemision
found off Cape Artemision in northern Euboea, 1926; the horse and
Rider found off Cape Artemision, 1928 and 1937; the Riace bronzes,
found in 1972; the Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo, near Brindisi,
1992; and the
Apoxyomenos recovered from the sea off the Croatian
Lošinj in 1999.
^ "Archeologia in rete" Archived 2007-10-19 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Though the Greek sculpture is unlikely ever to have touched Italian
soil before its modern recovery, Italian authorities
have pressed for its return, as part of Italy's patrimony. In fact,
the statue was found by an Italian fishing trawler in international
water: the owner of the ship was Italian and the statue was under
Italian legislation. But the Italian laws state that every
archeological good in
Italy belongs to the People and cannot be sold.
^ Analysis of fibres from the core reveal that they are flax;
Pausanias noted in the second century CE that the only flax being
grown in Greece was to be found around Olympia.
^ Saga of the ‘stolen’ gold wreath could loosen British hold on
Elgin marbles - Times Online
^ Men's Vogue, Nov/Dec 2006, Vol. 2, No. 3, pg. 46.
^ LATimes.com ~ "Getty lets her take fall, ex-curator says"
^ (in Italian) Giampiero Buonomo, La richiesta di pubblicità
dell’udienza sull’appartenenza dell’atleta di
penale e processo, 2015, n. 9, p. 1173.
Frel, Jiri, 1978. The Getty Bronze (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum).
Antonietta Viacava, L' atleta di Fano, edizioni L'Erma di
Bretschneider, 1995, ISBN 88-7062-868-X.
Mattusch, Carol C. 1997. The
Victorious Youth (
Getty Museum Studies on
Art; Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum). Reviewed in Bryn Mawr
(in Italian) www.lisippo.org - Website of the cultural organisation
who want the statue back to Fano, Italy.
(in Italian) www.patrimoniosos.it
(in English) (Getty Museum) Victorious Youth
(in English) NPR, "Italy,
Getty Museum at Odds over Disputed Art" 20
(in English) (Los Angeles Times), Jason Felch, "The Amazing Catch They
Let Slip Away": 11 May 2006
(in English) (Trafficking Culture Project), Neil Brodie, "The Fano
(in English) "The Getty’s mea culpa" by, managing editor of the
magazine Archaeology at the
(in Italian) Il Getty non restituisce le opere. Rutelli: «Cultural
embargoe», by Pierluigi Panza, Corriere della Sera, November 14, 2006
(in Italian) Il
Getty Museum non rende le opere richieste, Corriere
della Sera, November 23, 2006
(in Italian) Rutelli attacca il Getty. Dubbi su 250 opere, di Paolo
Conti, Corriere della Sera, November 24, 2006
(in Italian) Rutelli-Getty, secondo round - “Non esponete opere
rubate”, La Stampa, November 24, 2006
(in Italian) Il Getty pronto a restituire la «Venere» Ma non
restituirà il Lisippo., Corriere della Sera, November 26, 2006
(in French) "L'Italie joue le bras de fer avec le Getty Museum", di
Richard Heuzé, Le Figaro, December 26, 2006
(in Italian) "No Lisippo, no Bernini", La Stampa, July 11, 2007
Coordinates: 43°23′32″N 14°33′26″E / 43.39222°N
14.55722°E / 43.39222; 14.55722