Showing results 1 - 12 of 13 for the month of November, 2003.

November 28, 2003

The Copenhagen Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 6:15 pm in Elgin Marbles

A lot of attention is devoted to the Parthenon sculptures in Athens & the British Museum, but comparatively little information is available on the other fragments scattered around Europe. This is in many ways not surprising, as they amount to less than three percent of the surviving pieces. A few years ago, a fragment from Palermo in Sicily was due to return, but the process was halted at the last minute. This article looks at the case of two heads from the metopes of the Parthenon, currently located in Copenhagen’s National Museum.

The Copenhagen Post

Could Copenhagen lose its marbles?

When classical scholars, historians and philhellenes flock to Copenhagen it is not to see the Little Mermaid. It’s the National Museum’s two exquisite ancient heads from the Parthenon in Athens that’s the draw. But is Greece going to claim them back?

Currently, Greece is campaigning the British Museum for a return of the Elgin Marbles, a group of sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens brought to England by Lord Elgin in 1812. When they are returned, Athens will be poised to demand the restitution of other artefacts from the Acropolis from various museums in Europe. This includes the Copenhagen Marbles, the pride of the National Museum’s antiquities collection.
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November 27, 2003

Do museum directors really change the world?

Posted at 8:18 am in British Museum

With his much espoused ideas about the Universal Museum & talk about how it represents all of humanity, it is clear that museum directors have a lot of power in shaping our view of history – and in some cases re-writing history to serve their own points of view.


Behind the scenes at the museum
Forget marches and party politics. If you really want to change the world, become a museum director
Charlotte Higgins
Thursday November 27, 2003

What is the purpose of the British Museum? Or, for that matter, any of the “universal” museums built in the wake of the Enlightenment – those living encyclopedias that once, many moons ago, could claim to contain the whole of human knowledge?

It’s hard to know, even when you get the museums’ own directors to tell you, as happened at a conference at the British Museum last week. Despite these great institutions’ apparent commonality of purpose, you’ll get a different answer depending on whom you ask.
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November 22, 2003

Are the Parthenon Marbles more about politics than archaeology

Posted at 1:43 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology

The reality of the dispute over the Parthenon Marbles is that it has progressively become more politically oriented as time has elapsed since they were first removed from Greece. This is not to say though that there aren’t also good archaeological reasons supporting their return.

The Guardian

Arts and humanities | Comment
Moving the marbles
The case for the Parthenon frieze is more about about politics than archaeology or public access, writes Mike Pitts
Saturday November 22, 2003

Whatever side you take on the case for moving the fragmentary 5th century BC Parthenon frieze from London to Athens, recent events show that the arguments are more about politics than archaeology or public access.

In 2001, MP Edward O’Hara proposed that the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Athens for the Olympic games next year, to fill the otherwise empty museum being built by Greece at a reported cost of £29m (in case anyone missed the hint, the Greek culture minister, Evangelos Venizelos, presented the UK with a virtual tour of the marbles in the new museum). The prime minister, Tony Blair, told Greece the art belonged to the British Museum, a view recently echoed, in refreshingly diplomatic language, by the museum’s present director, Neil MacGregor.
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D H Lawrence’s obscene paintings that were once offered back to Britain in return for Elgin Marbles

Posted at 8:35 am in Similar cases

A collection of paintings by D H Lawrence have gone on display, 70 years after being banned. At one point, they were inherited by a Greek hotelier in Mexico, who offered to sell them back to Britain in return for the Parthenon Marbles.


Lawrence ‘obscenities’ finally get a showing
Maev Kennedy, arts and heritage correspondent
Saturday November 22, 2003

A collection of paintings went on display yesterday – more than 70 years after the images were banned – but there is no sell-by date on obscenity.

In June 1929 a squad of embarrassed policemen raided the Warren gallery in London, and seized 13 paintings by DH Lawrence. They were spared from being burned on condition that they were never exhibited in Britain again.
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November 18, 2003

Simitis thinks resolving Elgin Marbles issue would help him win election

Posted at 7:53 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The Greek Prime Minister has been overheard pleading with Tony Blair while at a conference, asking him to try & sort out the Parthenon Marbles situation, as it would boost his ratings in the polls.

Macedonian Press Agency

Athens, 17 October 2003 (12:44 UTC+2)

The issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles prior to the 2004 elections was raised by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in a meeting with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the margin of the informal EU Summit in Brussels. “Mr. Simitis confessed he is losing the elections”, commented ND Spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos, who accused Mr. Simitis of “using a national issue for party and electoral interests”. “The event that the return of the Marbles is being discussed by the Greek and UK Prime Ministers should be greeted by all Greeks, without a party reflex”, stated Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos. However there is information that there had been prior discussion between the two PMs on the return of the Marbles in correspondence between them, while Mr. Blair’s last letter “left room for hope”, according to “Flash” radio.

“The Prime Minister’s first and foremost goal is that the Marbles be back before the 2004 Olympics”, stated Government Spokesperson and Minister of the Press Christos Protopapas, in response to ND’s criticism.
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November 16, 2003

Is Dorothy King going to help the British Museum keep the Elgin Marbles?

Posted at 1:48 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

In recent months, Dorothy King has been highlighted as the person who is going to spearhead the British Museum’s fight to keep the Elgin Marbles in the UK. It remains to be seen whether she will have significant effect on the inevitable paradigm shift within the museums community.

The Observer

Arts and humanities
The woman who is rewriting history… from the year Dot
David Smith, arts and media correspondent
Sunday November 16, 2003
The Observer

Cooking has Nigella Lawson, gardening has Charlie Dimmock and poetry has Daisy Goodwin. Now archaeology is the next subject to receive a glamorous TV makeover, thanks to an outspoken 30-year-old blonde dubbed ‘the female Indiana Jones’.

But whereas viewers are happy to watch a domestic goddess at work in the kitchen, Dr Dorothy King is already provoking a backlash in a profession still regarded as one of the last bastions of male dominance. Her undiplomatic views on the controversy surrounding the Elgin Marbles have seen her dismissed in archaeological circles as ‘not a serious academic’ and ridiculed as ‘a rich amateur with a flag to wave’.
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November 14, 2003

A funding crisis for museums?

Posted at 8:38 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Museums are facing another funding crisis – but let us not forget that there are many (easily rectified) factors that contribute to their lack of funds.

Firstly, there is the fact that in many cases they have far more artefacts than they can ever display, but are not allowed to dispose of them – so must pay for the storage, maintenance & security for them.

Next though, is the fact that while some of the artefacts in their collections are disputed, other countries have offered loans of new high profile pieces if they are returned. People do not come back to museums to see the same stuff that was there the previous time – they come to see new artefacts such as these. Furthermore, temporary exhibitions are often subject to an admission charge, whilst the rest of the museum is free admission.

Surely re-thinking such factors could help to close the funding gap?


Let’s not do the timewarp again
Without money to buy new pieces, our museums will become monuments to the tastes of our predecessors. Where could the funds come from?
Jane Morris
Friday November 14, 2003

Britain’s museum directors warn that we are heading for a crisis. Lack of money to buy new things means that museums and galleries, rather like Miss Haversham, will become frozen in time, monuments to the tastes of 19th- and early 20th-century collectors and curators, but not of those today.

The fact that galleries have been refurbished and extended – from the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing to the creation of Tate Modern – masks a stasis in the collections, they say, which damages our cultural life far more than the leaky roofs or dodgy lavatories lottery money has largely done away with.
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November 13, 2003

Thirteen British athletes support the return of the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 8:46 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Thirteen British Olympic Athletes have stepped forward to say that they support the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens.

The Times

November 13, 2003
Required reading
The Elgin Marbles

THIRTEEN of Britain’s top athletes have stepped into the controversy over the carvings, backing Greek demands for them to be sent back to Athens before it stages the Olympic Games next year. But what is the significance of Lord Elgin? In his concise and approachable The Elgin Marbles (British Museum Press), B. F. Cook explains that the Scottish peer who became Ambassador Extraordinary to Turkey, visited Athens in 1802. The city had declined under Turkish rule, so Elgin commissioned European artists to make drawings and moulds from the carvings on the Parthenon, the temple built on the Acropolis between 447 and 432 BC. The sculptures seemed at risk, and the Turks gave Elgin permission to ship the marbles to England where he exhibited them to great acclaim at his home in Piccadilly and finally sold them to the British Government for £35,000.
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November 12, 2003

Saving antiquities for the Nation

Posted at 8:52 am in Similar cases

Often, when an artwork in the UK comes up for sale, much is made about how it must be saved for the nation – to prevent it falling into the hands of a collector of museum abroad. When countries such as Greece request the return of their artefacts however, their statements are criticised as being purely nationalistic.


Tate chief attacks ‘save for the nation’ art policy
Fiachra Gibbons, arts correspondent
Wednesday November 12, 2003
The Guardian

Sir Nicholas Serota, the most powerful man in the museum world, dramatically broke ranks with his colleagues yesterday to challenge the idea that vast sums of money should be spent to stop important works of art leaving Britain.

The director of the Tate museums delivered a devastating indictment of the reflex to blindly save treasures “for the nation” when foreign collectors or museums try to buy them, a sacred cow of cultural policy until now.
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November 11, 2003

British Olympic medal winners want the Elgin Marbles returned

Posted at 8:56 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Thirteen former British Olympic medal winners have put their support behind campaigns to return the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.


Top British Olympians want Elgin Marbles returned
Tue 11 November, 2003 13:10
By Deborah Kyvrikosaios

ATHENS (Reuters) – The government has come under fire from some of its own greatest Olympians for refusing to return to Greece the so-called Elgin marbles in time for next year’s Athens Games.

In a coup for Greece’s campaign to right what it regards as an historical wrong, household names including Linford Christie, Daley Thompson, Alan Wells, Jonathan Edwards and Steve Smith added their voices to demands the British Museum give up the 2,500 year-old sculptures.
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November 8, 2003

Debates over the ownership of stolen artwork

Posted at 9:07 am in Similar cases

Italy’s plans to return the Axum Obelisk to Ethiopia re-open the debate about whether items of stolen cultural property should be returned to their countries of origin.


Ownership of Stolen Artwork Debated
Saturday November 8, 2003 8:46 PM
Associated Press Writer

ROME (AP) – An ancient obelisk that Italian Fascist forces hauled out of Ethiopia in the 1930s is being disassembled in central Rome for its journey home – a rare restitution that comes amid international debate over the rightful ownership of looted works.

A major step in the complicated return of the fragile yet weighty Axum Obelisk came Friday, when workers removed a 22-foot-long chunk from the top that weighs about 40 tons.
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Axum Obelisk prepared for return to Africa

Posted at 9:02 am in Similar cases

Work has now begun on the project to return the Axum Obelisk from Italy to Ethipia.


Stolen obelisk heading home to Africa raises issue of looted art worldwide
ROME, Nov. 8 — An ancient obelisk that Italian Fascist forces hauled out of Ethiopia in the 1930s is being disassembled in central Rome for its journey home — a rare restitution that comes amid international debate over the rightful ownership of looted works.

A major step in the complicated return of the fragile yet weighty Axum Obelisk came Friday, when workers removed a 22-foot-long chunk from the top that weighs about 40 tons.

Seeing part of the 1,700-year-old monument swinging from a crane — and headed home — prompted a group of Ethiopians to burst into cries of delight.
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