UPDATE: Greece Rejects the British Museum’s Loan Offer for the Parthenon Marbles

Following a recent report made by the institution stating that the two sides had made “constructive” talks.

Art 
5,661 Hypes 6 Comments

Update:

Senior Greek officials have rejected the British Museum’s loan offer for the Parthenon Marbles, following a recent report that the two sides had entered “constructive” talks on the matter. In a news conference today between Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Greek president Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Mitsotakis reaffirmed that he would bring the permanent return of the Marbles, if he were to win reelection.

“We will continue to work towards the attainment of this goal,” said Mitsotakis. “I do not expect immediate results, but I believe we have already moved very systematically. And if the Greek people trust us again, I believe we could achieve this target after the elections with full respect, of course, to the obvious red lines that all Greek governments have posed.”

The prime minister also understands the current climate with repatriation efforts happening all across the world regarding looted artifacts, such as the Benin Bronzes, and those of his native Greece. “There has now been a significant change in the United Kingdom, both at the level of public opinion, but also at the level of people who have knowledge of the matter from the entire political spectrum, who openly argue in favor of the need for the reunion of the Parthenon Marbles, realizing their uniqueness and their special significance for international culture,” Mitsotakis added.


Original Story: The British Museum has confirmed that it is in discussion with Greece on returning several of the Parthenon Marbles. A report first published by the Telegraph detailed how senior Greek ministers had met with the institution’s chairman George Osborne for over a year and a deal to return the artwork was drawn up as part of a “cultural exchange.” Another Greek official, however, spoke with the Guardian this week stating that “no such deal” has taken place.

The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Parthenon Sculptures or Elgin Marbles, are a series of reliefs and architectural metopes that were once placed at the temple of Athena (the Parthenon) on the Acropolis in Athens. Built between 447BC and 432BC, the marble works recount ceremonial processions to the Greek goddess Athena, war scenes such as the battle between the Centaurs and Lapiths at the marriage-feast of Peirithoos, along with depictions of various gods and heroes from Greek mythology.

In the early 19th Century, Athens had been under Ottoman rule for over 350 years and the Parthenon, which throughout its long history of switching from a temple, to a church, to a mosque, had gone into a state of ruin. Lord Elgin, the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, is said to have been granted a “permit (firman)” to remove half of the remaining sculptures and bring them back to the UK, according to a release by the British Museum. The institution also notes on its website that Elgin’s actions “were thoroughly investigated by a Parliamentary Select Committee in 1816 and found to be entirely legal, prior to the sculptures entering the collection of the British Museum by Act of Parliament.”

British Museum Parthenon Marbles Greece Reaptriation

Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Greek officials have long contested these claims and a recent report by the Guardian also revealed documents from 1803 spotlighting how Elgin wanted to display the marbles at his Scottish estate, but did not want to pay the taxes for “sculptured marbles and curiosities”, which would have amounted to tens of thousands of pounds today. The documents go on to state that Elgin was assisted in bringing the marbles by Viscount Castlereagh, a British foreign secretary, who had persuaded the British government to acquire the marbles — which was even highly contentious at that time.

“The removal of the Parthenon sculptures could be compared to removing the Eiffel Tower from Paris or Stonehenge from Salisbury,” said English actor Stephen Fry. “I think this comparison speaks to the cultural importance of the Parthenon sculptures, which are an indelibly evocative symbol of Greek heritage and identity.”

While the Vatican has sent back several of its Parthenon marbles as an act of solidarity, talks between the British Museum and Greece have mostly surmounted to a loan program — to which Greece fiercely disapproves. “Clever politicians listen to their people,” said head of the Acropolis Museum Nikos Stampolidis, in a past interview. “If there were a solution, Britain could be the protagonists of an ethical empire because this transcends our countries. If the marbles were reunited here in Athens, within view of the greatest symbol of democracy, it would be a great act for humanity,” Stampolidis added.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Tensions Run High in Trailer for Final Season of 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga'
Entertainment

Tensions Run High in Trailer for Final Season of 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga'

Premiering on Hulu on February 15.

Oprah Winfrey To Star in Tyler Perry's World War II Film 'Six Triple Eight'
Entertainment

Oprah Winfrey To Star in Tyler Perry's World War II Film 'Six Triple Eight'

Kerry Washington, Sam Waterson, Ebony Obsidian and more will also star in the Netflix movie.

Dime Announces Its Upcoming Merrell 1TRL Moab Collaboration
Footwear

Dime Announces Its Upcoming Merrell 1TRL Moab Collaboration

The trail-ready kicks are coming in purple and white colorways.

Derrick Adams Presents 'I Can Show You Better Than I Can Tell You'
Art

Derrick Adams Presents 'I Can Show You Better Than I Can Tell You'

Celebrating the richness and vibrancy of Black culture and community.

'Full Swing' Is the Next Dramatic Sports Documentary on Netflix
Golf

'Full Swing' Is the Next Dramatic Sports Documentary on Netflix

From the producers of ‘Drive to Survive.’


TAG Heuer Celebrates Its Carrera Timepiece With Special 60th Anniversary Model
Watches

TAG Heuer Celebrates Its Carrera Timepiece With Special 60th Anniversary Model

Yours for $7,400 USD.

Koffee and Jessie Reyez Hop on Sam Smith's New Track "Gimme"
Music

Koffee and Jessie Reyez Hop on Sam Smith's New Track "Gimme"

Reyez will also appear on Smith’s ‘Gloria The Tour’ this summer.

Roby Dwi Antono Releases Mickey Mouse-Inspired Print
Art

Roby Dwi Antono Releases Mickey Mouse-Inspired Print

Coinciding with the ‘Mickey Mouse Now and Future’ exhibition at Seoul Arts Center.

Microsoft’s New AI Technology Can Mimic Anyone’s Voice Based on a 3-Second Sample
Tech & Gadgets

Microsoft’s New AI Technology Can Mimic Anyone’s Voice Based on a 3-Second Sample

VALL-E was trained on audio from over 7,000 English language speakers.

Bristol Studio Unveils Its Cozy Reversible Sweatsuit in Navy
Fashion

Bristol Studio Unveils Its Cozy Reversible Sweatsuit in Navy

The quality, two-way garments are engineered with the brand’s custom heavyweight French Terry fabric.

More ▾
 
We got you covered. Don’t miss out on the latest news by signing up for our newsletters.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.