Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Is Immigrant Aphrodite Crying?

Just as Aphrodite gets all settled in the expensively renovated palace of the J. Paul Getty Museum, word comes that she's moving back to Italy. Aphrodite, the antiquity, must turn in her American passport and place of honor overlooking the gorgeous blue Pacific Ocean spread beneath her feet of limestone and respect the provenance of her ownership by the people of Italy. While Stone Goddess Aphrodite may not shed tears, the curators of the Getty Museum are choking back sobs. The day they knew would come has arrived, Aphrodite is being deported "home" as her rightful last known legal origin is from Italy. Created in the 5th century BC, it is believed Aphrodite was smuggled out of Sicily, bypassing Ellis Island, to land atop her beveled marble pedestal on some of the most expensive real estate per square centimeter in the world; Malibu, California.

In the world of Art, being looted and landing in the prestigious Getty Museum is better treatment than most human immigrants receive. The original purchaser/Getty curator, Dr. Marion True, is slated to go on trial for harboring Aphrodite after spending millions to procure the classical statue. Italy is in high dungeon that various collections in some of the most famous museums around the world, house their rightful art work. A somewhat broken Aphrodite owned her own palatial digs at the Getty after demonstrating her value as a member of the Getty society. In the wake of Aphrodite providing employment for so many American citizens and amateur art lovers, it is unknown what the economic effects of her departure will be on future Getty revenues and endowments.

It follows two years of often hostile negotiations, with Rome threatening to sever ties with Getty.

It is a victory for the Italian government, which has been battling in the courts for the past decade to defeat the enormously profitable international trade in smuggled ancient art works.

Aphrodite shall not be traveling alone on her return journey back to Italy. Forty lesser known yet major works of art were caught up in the immigration raid as well and will return to Italy shortly, paving the way for a grand reintroduction for the Athenian statue. A huge welcome is expected for each of the returnees. Italy's relationship with America came under scrutiny as the expensive security and motion detectors kept Italy's Art commissioners from examining Aphrodite as a witness and staving off their claims as The Getty rushed to prove American citizenship rightly earned based on documents. American curators vociferously claimed in artsy snippy tones, Aphrodite had served admirably on the front lines in service of American culture and was awarded citizenship in a most proper paid for fashion. Aphrodite watched the tug of war impassively from her secure safe haven in America. Getty curators have bowed to the inevitable immigrant argument and Aphrodite must relocate once again, this time lawfully. America fought the good fight for as long as possible to stop this deportation.

Learn more about the Getty Museum and the curator accused of harboring an illegal statue in Getty Villa by the former curator, Marion True, Jorge Silvetti and Salvatore Settis. The hardcover book is simply, The Getty Villa.

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