May 31, 2009
The New Acropolis Museum serves many purposes, not least the exhibition of the countless artefacts that would not possibly fit in the previous building on the monument. The main underlying reason for its existence is clear to all observers though – to secure the return of the Elgin Marbles.
The National (Abu Dhabi)
Bringing it all back?
Last Updated: May 31. 2009 7:03PM UAE / May 31. 2009 3:03PM GMT
The message is clear. The publicity may well be about the daring architecture designed to house 4,000 artefacts from Greece’s glorious past but the opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens next month is about the Elgin Marbles. It’s about the long, unrelenting campaign by Greece to have them returned by the British Museum.
Stand in the top floor of the new building, a glass-fronted lozenge skewed out of kilter with the exhibition space below and the visitor stands face to face with the Parthenon 300 metres away. In its vast hall will be a frieze which once graced the Acropolis, built in 479BC, a symbol of Athens at the zenith of its powers. About half of the carvings are in the mellow tones of weathered marble which have survived in Athens and the others – copies of those in London – are in casts of glaring white. In the British Museum the frieze looks inward from its gallery walls. In Athens it looks out at the visitors and over their shoulder to the Acropolis. The display says: the Marbles belong here. In this museum. In Athens.
Read the rest of this entry »