Seven pieces bought by the museum more than 30 years ago could be returned to Italy as soon as this coming autumn.
More than half a dozen stolen artifacts displayed in the Louvre’s Campana gallery are now set to return to their country of origin before the end of the year.
The director of the Louvre museum in Paris and Italian authorities have made an agreement to return the stolen pieces after an investigation found that they were not acquired legally.
Between 1982 and 1998 the museum purchased the items from private collectors who investigators now believe got them through illegal means.
Of the seven pieces, the most notable one is an Etruscan vase dating back to the 5th century BCE. The artist has been dubbed the “Berlin painter” but the exact identity of the artist is still unknown.
In a statement to the French newspaper Le Monde, the director of the Louvre Laurence des Cars said “I consider works of dubious provenance to be a blot on the collections of the Louvre. We must examine everything rigorously and clearly.”
Calls for repatriation of artifacts
Over the past several years there have been increasing calls for museums in Europe and North America to return artifacts and human remains that often times have been obtained though nefarious means.
Last year Egypt’s former minister of state for antiquities affairs, Zahi Hawass, called upon the Louvre and the British Museum to return artifacts taken from Egypt.
Of the pieces that Egypt requested back is the Rosetta Stone this is being held at the British Museum and the Dendera Zodiac from the Louvre.
Slow process of return
Last month Italy returned an ancient stone tablet to Iraq that was confiscated by Italian authorities in the 1980s. That tablet dates back to the 7th century BCE and has been attributed to Assyrian ruler King Shalmaneser III.
Two Dutch museums are planning to return more than 400 looted artifacts to Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
The artifacts were stolen during Dutch colonial rule in Southeast Asia between the 17th and 20th centuries. The artifacts include precious metals, jewelry and an ornate cannon that originated in Sri Lanka.