July 29, 2014
Various news articles give the impression that the British Museum will be moving some parts of the Parthenon Sculptures for an exhibition on ancient Greece taking place next year.
While the sculptures will not be leaving the museum at all during this process, it raises a couple of interesting points.
Firstly, the British Museum regularly makes the point that the sculptures can be seen free of charge in London – highlighting the fact that an admission fee is charged by the Acropolis Museum. However, large temporary exhibitions at the British Museum are never free – so you will no longer be able to see all the sculptures there for free while the exhibition is on.
Secondly, it has often been suggested in the past, that the sculptures are too valuable & fragile to be moved – that any handling might damage them. The fact that the British Museum is happy to move them around within the building shows that to move them to a more distant location would clearly be possible.
One assumes that Greece will probably be lending some sculptures to this exhibition. They should think long and hard so though, as to how they can also use their acto of generousity to highlight the British Msueum’s duplicity in this issue.
Elgin Marbles moved for first time in over half a century
British Museum to move the Elgin Marbles for the first time since their installation in 1962 as plans announced for blockbuster exhibition on ancient Greece
By Anita Singh, Arts and Entertainment Editor
3:53PM BST 02 Jul 2014
The Elgin Marbles are to leave their current home at the British Museum. Unfortunately for those who believe the treasures should be returned to Greece, they are not going very far.
The marbles are being relocated from one part of the museum to another – the first time they have been moved in over half a century.
They will form the centrepiece of next spring’s blockbuster exhibition on ancient Greece, details of which were announced today.
Since 1962, the controversial treasures – officially known as the Parthenon sculptures – have been housed in the museum’s Duveen Galleries.
The new exhibition will be held in the new Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, necessitating a delicate removals operation to ensure that the ancient marbles remain intact.
They have been the subject of a diplomatic stand-off since Lord Elgin took them from the Parthenon in Athens in the early 19th century.
George Clooney and Bill Murray ventured into the debate earlier this year while promoting The Monuments Men, a film about looted treasures.
Murray said the marbles have “had a very nice stay” in London but urged the British to “let art go back where it came from”. Clooney said it was “probably a good idea if they found their way back” to Greece.
The spring 2015 show will examine “the Greek body beautiful” and include various objects from the museum’s collection alongside loans from other institutions.
A spokesman said: “The ancient Greeks invented the idea of the human body in art as an object of beauty and a bearer of meaning. The exhibition will be a new look at the Greek body in art and thought and its connections with other world cultures.”
The show is the first in a series that will pull out key parts of the museum’s permanent collection and give them a moment in the spotlight.
It will be followed by a 2016 exhibition focusing on Assyria.
Plans were announced at the British Museum’s annual review, which detailed a record-breaking year in 2013.
There were 6.7 million visitors – up 20 per cent on the previous year, thanks in part to the Pompeii exhibition which became the third most popular show in the museum’s history, after Tutankhamun (1972) and a display of China’s terracotta army (2007).
The British Museum was second only to the Louvre in Paris as the most visited museum in the world.
- Greece drags heels over sculpture loans to British Museum : January 9, 2015
- Bill Murray & Matt Damon also support Marbles return : February 11, 2014
- George Clooney on the Parthenon Marbles : February 11, 2014
- Ilissos returns to British Museum, but not to Duveen Gallery : March 12, 2015
- Monuments Men – the people who saved the world’s artefacts from Hitler? : November 7, 2012
- Matt Damon, Bill Murray & George Clooney on Parthenon Marbles : February 16, 2014
- Rhodes offers to host Clooney’s wedding in thanks for Parthenon Marbles support : May 3, 2014
- The best location for the Parthenon Marbles : July 2, 2009