Stolen Venus Statue Returns Home to Sicily

Mon, 03/21/2011 - 06:46

The Venus of Morgantina has returned home to Sicily after being stolen from Italy over thirty years ago.

In the late 1970s, tomb raiders are believed to have stolen the 5th century marble statue and smuggled it out of the country. The sculpture of the Greek goddess Aphrodite was then sold to the John Paul Getty Museum for $18 million.

The Los Angeles museum returned the statue on Thursday in time for a celebration of Italy’s 150th anniversary. The Getty is expected to send back even more pieces of art soon as part of an agreement to return 40 works in the foundation’s catalogue that are suspected of being stolen from Italy.

The Venus will be on display in its rightful home of Sicily starting in April. First, the ancient statue must be reassembled. The 2-meter marble goddess was dismantled into seven pieces for safe shipment home.