Showing results 1 - 12 of 19 for the month of January, 2006.

January 31, 2006

Art ownership & national identity

Posted at 1:29 pm in Similar cases

Negotiations are currently underway in Austria for the re-purchase of two portraits by Klimt. The story has a long & complex history, but what is of more interest is the price that is likely to be paid for the paintings. The Austrian government is willing to pay a huge amount for these paintings, because they see them as a part of their national identity. This case of national identity being tied to cultural property is one of the key reasons why the Greeks have argued for so long that the Elgin Marbles should be returned & reunited in Athens.

Bloomberg News

Klimt Ruling Raises Issues of Art Ownership, National Identity
(The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Bloomberg.)
By Martin Gayford
Jan. 30 (Bloomberg)

Austria may pay more than $100 million for two portraits by Gustav Klimt. Even in today’s market, that isn’t cheap and raises questions about the value of art and its relationship to national identity.

These aren’t just any pictures. One of them, in particular, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (1907) has been described as the Austrian Mona Lisa and has, over the years, been reproduced on countless postcards and mousemats.
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January 29, 2006

Should the British Museum ‘share’ the Elgin Marbles?

Posted at 6:42 pm in Elgin Marbles

Another response to the previous letter in The Times.
If anything, this contains a proposal for an alternative solution even more ridiculous than that put forward in the previous letter. I cannot quite understand how the author believes that a rotating shared ownership of one third of the sculptures exchanged with replicas would help anything – or indeed do anything other than lead to considerable confusion.

The Times

Letters to the Editor
The Times
January 28, 2006

Elgin Marbles
Sir, The British Museum needs to adopt a more constructive approach to the future of the Elgin Marbles (letters, Jan 21 and 25).

Let the New Acropolis Museum commission replicas of the Marbles, and there then be a formal arrangement with the British Museum for perhaps a third of the original main fragments to be exchanged on a revolving basis for their replicas.
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January 26, 2006

The marbles should not be returned, because of Greece’s past record

Posted at 11:15 pm in Elgin Marbles

Yet another Dorothy King interview, this time from Reuters. She seems (as always) convinced, that her perception of past behaviour by the Greeks ought to be the sole deciding factor for whether the marbles stay in Britain or not.


Greeks ‘don’t look after treasures’
Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:43 PM GMT170
By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) – The government should not return the Elgin Marbles to Athens because Greece has a lamentable record of caring for its Parthenon treasures, a leading archaeologist says in a new book.

“I think they have to start looking after what they have,” said Dorothy King. “Most of the Parthenon sculpture in Athens isn’t on display and hasn’t been cared for.”
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January 25, 2006

Should the marbles be put back on the Parthenon?

Posted at 11:01 pm in Elgin Marbles

This slightly ridiculous response to Anthony Snodrgrass’s earlier letter appeared in the Times today. The Author seems to think that the case is entirely about who has the title of ownership, whereas the context & the reunification are far more important issues. He also shows little knowledge of the New Acropolis Museum; a space specifically designed to hold the marbles & carefully related to the proportions & orientation of the Parthenon – something that cannot be said of the Duveen Gallery at the British Museum.
He then goes on to say that they should have been left on the building & replaced as required, in the same way as happens to the sculptures on some cathedrals. This point neglects the importance of the marbles from a both a historical & cultural point of view. The cathedral sculptures that he describes are usually replace as part of a general system of maintenance to the building, the replacement of them has always been part of the tradition. Although their haven been many modifications to the Parthenon, this regular replacement of damaged sculptures has never been a part of the tradition of the building.

The Times

Letters to the Editor
The Times
January 25, 2006
Elgin’s bits of the Parthenon

Sir, Professor Snodgrass (letter, Jan 21) advocates removing the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum while the museum retains title of ownership.

It would of course be equally valid to suggest that the British Museum could transfer title of ownership while retaining the Marbles in London. However, neither approach really improves anything.
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Dorothy King interview

Posted at 1:34 pm in Elgin Marbles

The BBC’s website has an interview with Archaeologist Dorothy King, mainly discussing her recently published book ‘The Elgin Marbles’.
One of the biggest issues that I have with her arguments for the retention of the marbles in Britain, is the notion that it should be justified by the previous treatment of the sculptures – a fact that not only ignores the many & varied reasons why the marbles were treated differently in different locations, but seems to forget that no one apart from the British Museum appointed the British Museum to stand in judgement & take artefacts for their own protection (this of course ignores the fact that Elgin’s intentions were never originally as a preservationist.)

BBC news

Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 10:49 GMT
Return the Marbles? Forget it
By Trevor Timpson
BBC News

Archaeologist Dorothy King, who breaks the mould of the dusty academic, is an outspoken critic of Greek demands to take back the Elgin Marbles from the UK.

“I think she sounds fun,” Dorothy King says of Melina Mercouri, “I wish I could have been friends with her – a bit of a drama queen, but aren’t we all?”

Ms Mercouri was the Oscar-nominated actress and Greek culture minister who demanded that the UK return the Parthenon sculptures – the Elgin Marbles – “in the name of fairness and morality”.
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January 22, 2006

The Heidelberg fragment is just the beginning

Posted at 10:32 pm in Elgin Marbles

Anthony Snodgrass, chairman of the BCRPM explains in a letter to The Times, why the return of the Heidelberg fragment of the Parthenon frieze is so significant.

The Times

Letters to the Editor
The Times
January 21, 2006

Share the Marbles

Sir, Many readers will see the significance of a recent decision to return the Heidelberg fragment of the Parthenon Frieze to Greece. What is striking about this initiative is that it came, not from politicians, but from distinguished archaeologists who have acted after close consideration of the ethics of the case and who know at least as much about the issues as anyone on the “retentionist” side.
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More details on Heidelberg fragment return

Posted at 1:08 pm in Elgin Marbles

Further information on the return of the Heidelberg fragment of the Parthenon frieze from the Greek press.

Athens News Agency

Heidelberg Univ. to return fragment of Parthenon frieze to Greece

The Heidelberg University’s Museum of Antiquities will be returning a piece of the Parthenon sculptures in its posession to Greece, following the university Rectorate’s recent decision to present the Acropolis Museum with an 8×11 cm fragment of a relief of the Parthenon’s northern frieze that is currently part of the university’s Collection of Antiquities.

“The University of Heidelberg is returning this fragment “exlusively in recognition of the significance of the Parthenon as part of the world’s cultural heritage,” Prof. Angelos Chaniotis, Vice Rector of the University, told ANA-MPA.
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January 20, 2006

The looting of Iraq three years on

Posted at 1:13 pm in Similar cases

There was huge public condemnation of the looting of Iraq’s archaeological sites & museums when it occurred after the fall of Baghdad three years ago & many said that it was predicted in advance & more should have been done to prevent it. We criticise events of the past, such the looting of various countries during the British Empire, but it is still all too easy for the same thing to happen today.
Former British Arts Minister Mark Fischer looks at the situation now where the looting is still continuing.

The Guardian

Tomb raiders
Three years after Iraq’s ancient treasures were first stolen and smashed, the cradle of civilisation is still being looted. It’s a catastrophe, says former arts minister Mark Fisher
Thursday January 19, 2006
The Guardian

‘Pillagers strip Iraq museum of its treasure,” the New York Times reported on April 13 2003 as Baghdad fell to coalition forces. The next day the Independent reported that “scores of Iraqi civilians broke into the museum … and made off with an estimated 170,000 ancient and priceless artefacts”.

The media joined archaeologists in condemning President Bush and the US. Eleanor Robson, a council member of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq, compared the US under President Bush to the Mongol hordes, and the destruction of the museum’s collection to that of the library of Alexandria in the 5th century. The president of the International Council on Monuments said that the US was guilty of committing a “crime against humanity”. Interpol set up a task force to track Iraq’s stolen cultural property, Unesco organised meetings of experts, and the US sent a multi-agency task force to investigate. It included specialists from the CIA, the FBI, the Diplomatic Security Service and US Immigration and Customs, and was led by Col Michael Bogdanos, a former assistant district attorney from Manhattan.
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January 19, 2006

Greece in sensitive discussions over frieze fragments

Posted at 10:21 pm in Elgin Marbles

As well as the Heidelberg fragment of the Parthenon Frieze, the Greek government is also continuing negotiations with Italy for the return of another piece currently held in Palermo.

Middle East Times

Greece in ‘sensitive discussions’ for Acropolis marble fragments
January 18, 2006

ATHENS — Greece is conducting “sensitive discussions” to secure the return of two 2,500-year-old frieze fragments from the Acropolis held in Italy and Germany, with talks focusing on which items might be offered in exchange, a culture ministry source said on Tuesday.

The two marble fragments removed from the Parthenon, the fifth-century BC temple atop the Athens Acropolis, are respectively held by the archaeology museum in Palermo, Italy, and by Heidelberg University in Germany.
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January 16, 2006

Parthenon Marbles exhibition in Frankfurt

Posted at 1:54 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Melina Mercouri Foundation & the Greek Ministry of Culture have organised the display of an exhibition in Frankfurt, highlighting the issues surrounding the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

Macedonian Press Agency

Thessaloniki, 16 January 2006 (15:55 UTC+2)

An exhibition organized by the Greek Culture Ministry and the Melina Mercouri Foundation on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece will take place in Frankfurt City Hall on January 19-February 5 at the initiative of the network of Greek expatriate elected officials to local government posts in Europe.
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Dorothy King’s book

Posted at 1:15 pm in Elgin Marbles

Two more reviews of Dorothy King’s book on the Elgin Marbles that has just been published. Neither seems particularly positive about either the content, or the general way in which it is presented.

The Independent

HUTCHINSON £18.99 (340pp) £17.99 (free p&p) from 0870 079 8897
The Elgin Marbles, by Dorothy King
Ruins, rhetoric and restitution
By Paul Cartledge
Published: 13 January 2006

This sorry book gets off to a very bad start. Actually, it is about the Parthenon marbles as a whole, not merely those marbles currently in the British Museum which may properly be called “the Elgin Marbles”. Lord Elgin (Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl) does not enter the story – or rather, Dorothy King’s version – until two-thirds of the way through. The question of whether, as it claims, the Elgin Marbles constitute “archaeology’s greatest controversy” is both ambiguous (greatest ever? Or greatest current?) and substantively moot.
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January 14, 2006

Will heel fragment hasten marbles return?

Posted at 10:31 pm in Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the announcement a few days ago that Heidelberg University is to return a portion of the Parthenon Frieze to Greece.

BBC news

Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 18:27 GMT
Heel ‘may hasten Marbles’ return’

A German university has backed the return of a fragment of the Parthenon temple to Athens but it wants Greece to give it an artwork in return.

The piece of marble – a carving of a man’s heel – from the frieze of the ancient temple measures 11cm by 8cm.

The Greek government has hailed the university of Heidelberg’s decision as “a highly important symbolic gesture”.
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