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Getty Museum to Return Hades Sculpture to Sicily

Antiquities experts determine the head's original location was in a sanctuary that was clandestinely excavated in 1970. It will be on display at the Getty through Jan. 21.

The J. Paul Getty Museum will return to Sicily an ancient terracotta sculpture of the head of the Greek god Hades, which the Getty acquired in 1985.

The god of the underworld, which dates to 400-300 B.C., will be handed over to the Museo Archeologico in Aidone, Sicily, after it goes on a Getty-organized traveling exhibit, "Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome," which will be at the Getty Villa April 3 through Aug. 19.

The head is currently on view at the Getty Villa as part of the special installation "The Sanctuaries of Demeter and Persephone at Morgantina." It will be on display through Jan. 21.

"The Getty greatly values its relationship with our Sicilian colleagues, which culminated in the 2010 Cultural Collaboration Agreement," said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. "This collaboration has brought significant opportunities for scholarly dialogue, joint conservation projects, and loans, most notably the 'Charioteer' from Mozia that is currently undergoing a thorough seismic conservation assessment and remounting in our conservation studios."

A joint investigation with Sicilian art experts led the Getty to the conclusion that the head should be returned.

Four terracotta fragments similar to the Hades head were found near Morgantina, Sicily; and antiquities experts determined that the head's original location was in a sanctuary that was clandestinely excavated in 1970, according to the Getty. The research also helped establish the sanctuary as one dedicated to Demeter, goddess of the harvest.

Since the 2010 agreement, the Getty has repatriated to their country of origin nearly 50 objects of art -- more than any other museum.

Most of the items have been returned to Italy and Greece, in part because the Getty's core collection specializes in Greek and Italian antiquities.

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