“Zeus Enthroned,” circa 100 BCE, marble, 29 1/8 x 18 1/8 x 18 inches

A stunning marble sculpture of an enthroned Zeus circa 100 BCE is — after 25 years — heading to a new home after this world-renowned institution reached an agreement with Italian officials.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, has amicably decided to return a first-century BCE sculpture of Zeus to Italy. Acquired in 1992, the marble sculpture is about 29 inches tall and displays the Greek Olympian deity Zeus enthroned. The god, wearing a toga, is depicted bearded and with arm raised on the encrusted statue, which likely spent hundreds of years beneath the surface of the sea before discovery.

Recently, Italian officials contacted the museum with new information about the sculpture, including a recently discovered fragment of the statue. “The Getty values greatly its relationships with Italian colleagues in museums and other cultural sectors,” said museum director Timothy Potts. “The decision to return this object continues our practice of working with the Ministry [of Cultural Heritage] to resolve issues of provenance and ownership of works in our collection in a way that responds to new information as it emerges, and respects the good faith and cultural missions of both parties.”

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


    • Mr. Gaetke,

      “BCE” and “BC” both refer to the same dating system. “BCE” is a secular alternative to “BC” and is used often in current scholarship.



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