Quote of the Day

Each stone as it fell shook the ground with its ponderous weight, with a deep hollow noise; it seemed like a convulsive groan of the injured spirit of the temple.

Sir Robert Smirke, Architect of the current British Museum

The reunification of the Elgin Marbles & other disputed artefacts

The Parthenon Sculptures (also called Parthenon Marbles or Elgin Marbles) are split between several museums. Despite numerous similar cases of contested ownership of cultural property, few loan or return requests are successful. Elginism aims to raise awareness by publicising the issue & cataloguing news on it, as well as working in conjunction with various campaigns including Marbles Reunited, & the IARPS.
To track the latest news updates, you can also follow Elginism on Twitter or Facebook.

October 2, 2014

Promakhos screening at Australia’s Greek film festival

Posted at 12:49 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

I was fortunate enough to see a preview screening of Promakhos a few months ago. It is now going to be possible for the public to see it, in both Sydney & Melbourne as part of the Greek Film Festival.

The Sydney screening will be followed with a Q&A session with David Hill, chair of the International Association of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

From:
Greek Film Festival

CLOSING NIGHT EVENT: Promakhos
Greece/USA/UK, 2014, 91mins (Drama)
Director Coerte Voorhees and John Voorhees

Someone needs to stand up for Greece, make a case for her…”

For over two centuries, the legality behind the removal of the Parthenon Marbles from the Acropolis has been the subject of much controversy and passionate debate. Very credible cases against the British Museum have been put forward by a number of lawyers – including the father of this film’s makers – however, Greek governments have steered clear of any involvement.
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September 18, 2014

Acropolis Museum is in global top ten

Posted at 12:58 pm in New Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum in Athens has made it into TripAdvisor’s list of the world’s top ten museums.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum

From:
Greek Reporter

Acropolis Museum Among World’s Best
by Nikoleta Kalmouki
Sep 17, 2014

Operating for five years now, the Acropolis Museum in Athens has charmed foreign and local tourists with its treasures from the Greek Bronze Era to the Roman and Byzantine period.

It is the most visited museum in Greece and attracts millions of visitors each year. The Acropolis Museum is 8th on the list of the best museums in the world compiled by TripAdvisor, based on visitor votes.
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The impact of Scottish independence on the British Museum

Posted at 12:46 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This article was published some time ago, but its content is still relevant today.

Everyone reading this weebsite hopefully realises that the so called Elgin Marbles were not from Elgin, nor did they ever pass through Scotland to the best of my knowledge. The fact remains though, that they were brought to the UK by a Scotsman, although subsequently purchased off him by the British Government. Whilst they might not be under contention in Scotland’s independence debate, many of the other artefacts may well be more closely tied to Scotland than to Britain.

Further to this, the British Museum is a national museum for the whole of the UK – if a country was to split from the union, would they then be entitled to a percentage share of all the artefacts in the collection.

Neil MacGregor refuses to answer any of these questions, saying that they will be considered as & when the issue becomes real for them.

Lewis Chessmen - discovered in Scotland, but many of them are now in the British Museum

Lewis Chessmen – discovered in Scotland, but many of them are now in the British Museum

From:
Guardian

What would be the implications for the British Museum if Scotland voted for independence?
If Scotland became independent after 2014, the British Museum would be presented with an “existential question”, according to its director Neil MacGregor
Tuesday 25 June 2013

“Let’s jump off that bridge when we get to it,” said Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, when pressed on the putative future of the institution were Scotland to become independent.

The question was raised at a British Museum press conference today not by a journalist, but, intriguingly, by Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary under three prime ministers and once the most powerful civil servant in the land.
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September 10, 2014

Study on Native American Scalp in German museum could lead to restitution

Posted at 12:55 pm in Similar cases

A Native American Scalp in the Karl May Museum near Dresden in Germany is going to be subject to a study over its origins & acquisition, which the museum concedes may provide the basis for its eventual restitution.

Native American exhibition at the Karl May museum

Native American exhibition at the Karl May museum

From:
Phys.org

German museum agrees to study on contested Native American scalp (Update)
Sep 04, 2014 by Kate Millar

A German museum said Thursday it will look into the origins of a scalp claimed by a Native American tribe as an ancestral artefact.

Scientists from the Karl May Museum in the eastern town of Radebeul near Dresden will begin an investigation to shed light on the provenance of one of 17 scalps in its collections, a museum spokeswoman said.
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September 5, 2014

The Elgin Marbles – Looted or Rescued?

Posted at 4:57 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

A lecture by Alan Read at the Dulwich Picture Gallery (with a somewhat controversial choice of title) looks at how the significance of the Parthenon Marbles has changed over time.

From:
Dulwich Picture Gallery

The Elgin Marbles: looted or rescued?

The Parthenon sculptures have been the subject of controversy since their creation 2,500 years ago. How did a Scottish aristocrat acquire the very best of them, and how did the British Museum buy them in 1816? This lecture celebrates their magnificence, and examines how their significance has changed, from decorations on an ancient temple to disputed cultural objects in the present day. Lecturer: Alan Read

Date: 18 November 2014, 7pm
Price: £12 / £10 Friends (includes a glass of wine)

Conference in Rome on the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 1:13 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

Professor Dario Siegle is organising a one day conference on the Parthenon Sculptures, taking place in Rome on Wednesday 8th October 2014.

There are various speakers from Greecec & Italy taking part in the event.

You can view the programme for the event here.

Conference flyer

Conference flyer

September 1, 2014

Can a museum be too big?

Posted at 1:06 pm in British Museum

An interesting perspective her, advocates breaking up the largest museums, to allow visitors to enjoy a better experience there, without such high levels of crowding. Institutions such as the British Museum regularly crow about the number of people who visit (with the implication of the statements being that they all see the Parthenon Marbles), but the reality is that this tells nothing about the quality of the experience.

The idea of splitting museums into more manageable chunks is nothing new – London’s Natural History Museum, the British Library & the now sadly defunct Museum of Mankind, once all fell under the auspices of the British Museum.

Some in the industry talk in horror about any event that might lead to a reduction in the collections of the encyclopaedic museums, but the reality is that if current trends continue, such breaking up of collections might become a necessity. As such, once this happens, surely restitution requests would not be seen in quite the same light as they are now, as breaking apart the integrity of a collection that had been amassed over the centuries.

Crowds at the Metropolitan Museum in New York

Crowds at the Metropolitan Museum in New York

From:
Al Jazeera

Break up the major museums to save them
August institutions should build more outposts rather than cloister themselves in big cities
August 31, 2014 6:00AM ET

The Louvre in Paris recently told The Art Newspaper that it expects its visitor numbers to rise by a third over the next decade, putting the world’s busiest art museum on track to welcome 12 million visitors annually by 2025. It’s a staggering figure that points to a growing reality facing art lovers and museumgoers: How can you expect to see and enjoy art through the chaotic crowds that are increasingly defining major museums?

In the last few years, many of the largest and most popular museums, including the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, have been experiencing significant issues with crowding. The head of visitor services at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg recently admitted to The New York Times, “Such a colossal number of simultaneous viewers isn’t good for the art, and it can be uncomfortable and overwhelming for those who come to see the art.” In the same article, an art historian disparaged the situation at the Uffizi Gallery, home to some of the most famous masterpieces of the Renaissance, saying, “It seems like a tropical greenhouse. You can’t breathe.”
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August 29, 2014

The meaning of the Parthenon Frieze

Posted at 12:58 pm in Elgin Marbles

A few years ago, the commonly accepted theory was that the Parthenon Frieze depicted the Panathenaic Procesion. Recently though, various alternative theories have been put forward that possibly it is illustrating some completely different event.

Joan Breton Connelly’s book, the Parthenon Enigma bases a fictional story around another possible meaning of the frieze.

From:
Weekly Standard

Deep Frieze Meaning
What is the Parthenon telling us?
Sep 8, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 48 • By A. E. STALLINGS

The Parthenon represents, for many, a golden age in human achievement: the 5th-century b.c. Greek flowering of democracy, sciences, and the arts. But what if its chief ornament, the Parthenon frieze, turned out to be not an embodiment of reason and proportion—of stillness at the heart of motion, quiet piety, and enlightened civic responsibility—but (or, rather, also) something darker, more primitive: a representation of the critical moment in an ancient story of a king at war, a human sacrifice, and a goddess’s demand for virgin blood?

That’s the argument at the heart of The Parthenon Engima. The plot involves not only ritual murder and burial, but fragments of a lost play of Euripides found on mummy wrappings. Even the title suggests a Dan Brown thriller.
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August 28, 2014

Ancient coins returned to Greece after New York investigation

Posted at 12:59 pm in Similar cases

As part of a plea bargain, during an investigation into black market trading of rare coins, the collector Arnold-Peter Weiss has agreed to return some of the disputed coins to GReece.

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

From:
Reuters

Ancient coins returned to Greece as part of New York plea deal
05/08/14 12:14 CET

A collection of ancient silver pieces forfeited during an undercover investigation into black-market coin trading in New York City was handed over to the Greek government at a ceremony on Monday, city officials said.

The repatriation of the five coins dating back to 515 BC resulted from a plea agreement by a Rhode Island orthopedic surgeon and longtime coin collector who was convicted of attempted criminal possession of rare stolen coins in 2012.
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Parthenon Marbles should return, because of their beauty

Posted at 12:43 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Jonathan Jones argues persuasively in the Guardian, that the Marbles should eb returned. Key to his reasoning is the matter of context, something that I have often argued about previously. No matter what the British Msueum says, it is impossible to see the Marbles in the same way in the British Museum as it would be in the Acropolis Museum, within sight of the Parthenon.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

From:
Guardian

18th August 2014
Jonathan Jones
The Parthenon marbles are the world’s most beautiful art – and that’s why we should give them back
These consummately beautiful sculptures demand a proper setting – and a trip to Athens has convinced me the Acropolis Museum is that place

What can you do with the world’s most beautiful art? Where does it belong? How should it be cared for and displayed?

The art in question is the array of sculpture created in Athens in the 5th century BC to decorate the Parthenon, the temple to Athena that still, today, dominates the skyline of the Greek capital.
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August 12, 2014

Encasing the Parthenon Marbles in sand as bomb protection considered during first World War

Posted at 8:00 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Newly released information reveals that one of the way that the British Museum considerd protecting the Parthenon Marbles during the First World War was to fill the room where they were housed with sand. The idea was ditched, because of worries that the walls of the room would not be able to hold the weight of the sand. In the end, the sculptures were instead protected with sandbags in the gallers.

Not that many years later, in the Second World War, when the risk of bombing was far greater, they were instead transferred to disused London Underground tunnels for safety.

Parthenon Marbles being removed from the London Underground in 1948

Parthenon Marbles being removed from the London Underground in 1948

From:
Art Newspaper

British Museum’s battle on the home front during the First World War
Archive reveals how air raids threatened the collection and King George V intervened to stop the building being requisitioned
By Martin Bailey. Museums, Issue 259, July-August 2014
Published online: 30 July 2014

The British Museum’s curator of Oriental prints and drawings wrote what became one of most famous war poems in the English language. Laurence Binyon penned the lines of “For the Fallen” in September 1914 that are inscribed on thousands of memorials: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old / Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn / At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember them.”

Binyon volunteered for military service in 1915. He told the museum’s director: “I know I am not the best material [he was 45], but it does seem as if every man would be wanted before the end.” Binyon worked as a hospital orderly in eastern France in 1916.
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August 7, 2014

Riding from Athens to London for the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 12:48 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

I wrote last year about the Italian Dr Luca Lo Sico, who planned to cycle from London to Athens in support of the Parthenon Marbles.

He has now arrived in Athens, and been welcomed by Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Angela Gerekou.

He follows in the pedals of Dr Chris Stockdale, who undertook a similar cycle ride in 2005 for the same reason.

Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Angela Gerekou with Salvatore Lo Sicco

Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Angela Gerekou with Salvatore Lo Sicco

From:
Greek Reporter

London to Athens on a Bike for the Parthenon Marbles Return
Ioanna Zikakou
Aug 7, 2014

Salvatore Lo Sicco, a British-Italian professor who works in the UK, traveled from London to Athens on his bike to rally for the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles.

Lo Sicco started his route outside the British Museum, which houses the Marbles that Lord Elgin removed from Athens in the 1800′s, and finished in front of the steps of the Acropolis Museum.
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