The Met May Settle With Italy

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For all the saber-rattling before their grueling six-hour meeting on Tuesday, Italy's culture ministry and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have mapped out a potential solution to Italy's claims on antiquities in the museum's collection, officials said Wednesday. In essence, Italy would officially own the works, which it asserts were looted within its borders, but the Met would get to keep them - or receive objects of equal value as long-term loans.

Officials said the compromise, still being worked out and requiring approval from the Met's board and the Italian government, could resolve Italy's longstanding claims to some of the Met's most prized antiquities, which include a 15-piece Hellenistic silver set and an urn from the sixth century B.C. decorated by the Greek painter Euphronios.

But in an interview, Philippe de Montebello, the Met's director, underscored that Italy would have to provide "incontrovertible evidence" to the museum that the works it claims were illegally excavated in Italy. "If we are convinced by the evidence, we will take appropriate action," he said.

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