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Museum of Fine Arts deal with Italy

Further details of the artefacts that Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has agreed to return to Italy [1]. Following the initial agreement reached in July, the thirteen pieces were handed over on 28th September. Details of the individual artefacts concerned can be seen on the MFA’s website [2].

CBS News [1]

Sep 28, 2006 1:01 pm US/Eastern
MFA Returns Disputed Art To Italy

(CBS4) BOSTON The Museum of Fine Arts has returned 13 artifacts to Italy, ending a long dispute over the items – which Italy claims were stolen years ago and later sold to the MFA.

Both sides reached a tentative deal back in July. The artifacts were displayed Thursday at the Italian Culture Ministry in Rome before a signing ceremony with Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli and MFA director Malcolm Rogers.

It’s not clear how much the items are worth. As part of the deal, Italy will lend the pieces to the MFA.

(To see the 13 artifacts and to read more about them, go to the MFA’s web site.)

Italy has been aggressively trying to recover archaeological treasures through agreements like this one, as well as through criminal prosecution.

In one case, Marion True, a former curator for the J. Paul Getty Museum, is on trial in Rome, along with American art dealer Robert Hecht for alleged trafficking in illegal artifacts. Both say they’re not guilty.

Lawyers for the Italian government have been negotiating with Getty officials toward reaching a deal similar to the one with the MFA.

Earlier this year, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return 21 artifacts that were looted from Italy in exchange for loans of other treasures.

A 1939 law in Italy requires any antiquities found there to be turned over to the state. Investigators believe looters uncovered stolen art that was buried in Italy and sold it to dealers overseas.

(© 2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)