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Antiquities Diplomacy: The Getty Awaits Two Apollos, Lent by Italy UPDATED

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The Getty Villa, Malibu

UPDATE: More Italy-to-Getty loans (from Florence) here.

In what the Italian newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno calls “the first element of stable, collaborative relations” between the Italian Culture Ministry and the J. Paul Getty Museum, two bronze statues of Apollo, both from excavations at Pompeii, are due to travel to the California museum tomorrow, on loan from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Luisa Melillo, the Naples museum’s head of conservation and restoration, will travel with the statues.

The Corriere article is sketchy on details (and my Italian language proficiency is sketchier), but one of the bronzes is called “Apollo lampadoforo” and the other, “Apollo saettante.” Their stays at the Getty “will not be of the same duration.” The former, recently restored, will be immediately put on display. I gather (but await confirmation) that it will be sent back, within a year, after the Getty completes the restoration of “Apollo saettante,” which will then be displayed in the Getty’s galleries. Its loan period will be a maximum of five years.

The “lampadaforo,” 10-20 B.C., is thought to depict an athlete and was found in 1925 in Room 15 of a home of Efebo. Its name (having to do with “lantern”) relates to its adaptation for the illumination of nighttime banquets. You can see a large photo of that statue in situ here. Corriere, at the first link in this post, has published small photos of the statue in both its unrestored and restored states.

The “Apollo saettante” (“saetta” is an arrow or thunderbolt) is attributed to Pompeii’s sanctuary of Apollo.

Is the “lampadoforo,” which looks magnificent, the “one particular object” that Michael Brand, a year ago, told me he was “looking at as a potential first loan,” pursuant to his museum’s 2007 agreement with Italy?

In our Antiquities Q&A, Michael, you told me that I’d be “the first person” you’d tell when the first antiquities loan was determined. But an Italian newspaper has beaten you to it. And now everyone’s going to be asking you for the details.

I’ll update with further information and, I hope, photos from the Getty, when available.

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