Stolen Property.

Getty Museum returns the Head of Hades to Italy

Sometime between 300-400B.C., an unknown artist in Morgantina, Italy carefully sculpted this terra-cotta replica of the famed god of the Underworld, the feared Hades.  The skull or head itself was carefully sculpted on its own, and later the curly hair and beard were individually added, one curl at a time, just before the final firing in the kiln. Afterwards, it was carefully painted, and some parts of the paint remain such as the red in his hair and the blue in his beard.  This beautiful artifact is an amazingly well-preserved momento of painstaking artistry.

The piece goes by both the name “Head of Hades” and “Bluebeard” and was illegally excavated from an Italian archaeological dig during the 1970s. Afterwards it was sold and ended up at the Getty Museum in the USA.  

According to the Getty Website, the work was initially believed to be a depiction of Hades’ brother, Zeus (known occasionally as Bluebeard).  However, examination of the nearby discovered artifacts and the knowledge that Morgantina worshipped Persephone (kidnapped wife of Hades), they now believe it is actually Hades instead.  The kidnapping of Persephone is thought to have occurred at a lake near the city.  

Long story short, because the work was illegally excavated, it technically still belongs to Italy and was stolen property, meaning the Getty had to repatriate the bust to its nation of origin.  Although the legal exchange happened a couple years ago, the official trade occurred recently when Italian officials arrived to take over possession.  

One of the interesting notes to me is the fact that the Getty has owned this work since 1985 according to their own website. It is unclear why this is only being repatriated now.  

Either way, the work is finally home as Hades returns to his royal lands, protecting the good and punishing the wicked as they pass into his deadly realm.

Resources:

  1. Getty Website
  2. Yahoo! News
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Italian millionaire sues Christie’s over record-breaking $40m sale of his father’s ‘stolen’ pink Princie Diamond he claims the auction house had no right to sell

“Italian millionaire sues Christie’s over record-breaking $40m sale of his father’s ‘stolen’ pink Princie Diamond he claims the auction house had no right to sell”

by Pete D’Amato

A rare pink diamond that surfaced in 2013 to fetch $40million at auction has fueled a feud among relatives of a late Italian senator as his son claims the stone was stolen by a backstabbing step-sibling.

Amedeo Angiolillo, who currently lives in New York, filed suit against Christie’s on Friday, alleging the auction house had sold off the 300-year-old, 34.65-carat Indian diamond to an anonymous buyer on behalf of someone other than its rightful owner.

Named the Princie Diamond, the pink gem ‘is one the rarest, perhaps most famous and illustrious pink diamonds in the world,’ according to the complaint filed in Manhattan supreme court.

Rare: The Princie Diamond that surfaced in 2013 to fetch $40million at auction has fueled a feud among relatives of a late Italian senator as his son claims the stone was stolen by a backstabbing step-sibling

Rare: The Princie Diamond that surfaced in 2013 to fetch $40million at auction has fueled a feud among relatives of a late Italian senator as his son claims the stone was stolen by a backstabbing step-sibling

According to Christie’s website, the diamond received the name after being purchased at auction by jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels, who named it in honor of the 14-year-old Prince of Baroda, son of Maharani Sita Devi.

The gem had been passed down through generations of Indian rulers before landing in the possession of Mir Osman Ali Khan of Hyderabad, who eventually sold it through Southeby’s.

The jewel came into Angiolillo’s family’s possession when his father, Renato Angiolillo, the founder of Italian newspaper Il Tempo, purchased the stone in 1961, the New York Post reports.

Having just wed his second wife, Maria Girani, Renato made a gift of the diamond – one that carried a caveat.

Renato’s new bride would ‘not have unfettered access to’ her husband’s collection of precious stones, according to the complaint.

The arrangement would last up until the newspaper magnate’s death in 1973, when Amedeo cut a deal with his step-mother that allowed her to continue wearing the diamond, the lawsuit states.

Prized possession: The jewel came into Angiolillo's family's possession when Renato Angiolillo (pictured), the founder of Italian newspaper Il Tempo, purchased the stone in 1961

Prized possession: The jewel came into Angiolillo’s family’s possession when Renato Angiolillo (pictured), the founder of Italian newspaper Il Tempo, purchased the stone in 1961

High society: Renato Angiolillo (right) had a taste for precious stones, and was reported to have bought the diamond in Paris after losing big at the Monte Carlo casino

High society: Renato Angiolillo (right) had a taste for precious stones, and was reported to have bought the diamond in Paris after losing big at the Monte Carlo casino

The younger Angiolillo agreed to let Girani hold onto the diamond ‘because she was quite active and influential in Italian politics and sponsored political, social and business meetings at her home,’ a gift Renato bequeathed her in his will.

‘Girani had a good relationship with her husband’s children and grandchildren, confirming on several occasions that the gems in her possession, including the Princie Diamond, belonged to them by inheritance, and that they would be returned to them after her death,’ according to documents filed.

Yet when Girani, too, passed away in 2009 and her husband’s heirs came looking for the precious stone, they say it wasn’t among her belongings.

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