A 2,300-year-old Greek pot and two other antiquities that the Italian government says were stolen arrived in Rome yesterday after being surrendered by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Italian Ministry of Culture said.
The Getty museum handed over the pot, a bronze Etruscan candelabrum, and a 2,500-year-old Greek tombstone from Sicily days before its former antiquities curator, Marion True, 57, is scheduled to go on trial in Rome on charges of conspiracy and receiving 35 looted items, including the candelabrum.
The museum, which isn't charged with any crime, didn't admit to any wrongdoing.
''These are objects of great historic, artistic and scientific value that the Getty Museum, knowing their illicit provenance, has decided to spontaneously restore to Italy," the Ministry of Culture said in a statement yesterday.
Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione announced last month that the Getty would be returning the items, which include the pot, or krater, used for mixing wine at drinking parties, decorated by the painter Asteas around 340 B.C.
The Getty said in a statement that it was returning the krater ''in the interest of settling the litigation and demonstrating the Getty's interest in a productive relationship with Italy," according to the Los Angeles Times. It's returning the other two objects based on its evaluation of evidence presented by Italy, the statement said.
True goes on trial Wednesday along with US dealer Robert Hecht, 86, who lives in Paris and New York.
Hecht is also charged with illicit export in helping supply the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Princeton University Art Museum in New Jersey, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Getty, and others, according to his indictment.
The MFA, which says it has not been contacted by Italian officials in connection with the case, released a statement last week. In it, they said they would contact Italian officials about the pieces in question.
''We've reached out to the Italian authorities," MFA spokeswoman Dawn Griffin said yesterday. ''The ball's in their court."
Hecht has denied the charges, and the Getty, speaking for True, who declined comment, has said it expects her to be exonerated. No museum has been charged with any crime.