February 11, 2014
More coverage of George Clooney’s statements about the Parthenon Marbles & how he believes that they should be returned to Greece.
George Clooney backs return of Parthenon Marbles to Greece
Actor says it would be “very nice” if the British Museum reptriates ancient frieze removed by Lord Elgin in 19th century
The Guardian, Sunday 9 February 2014 20.16 GMT
George Clooney has strolled into one of the most bitter and longest-running controversies in the heritage world, saying it would be “very nice” if the British Museum sent the Parthenon Marbles back to Greece.
Clooney, at the Berlin Film Festival promoting The Monuments Men, the story of an Allied team trying to save artefacts from the Nazis, was asked by a Greek reporter whether Britain should return the Marbles.
“I think you have a very good case to make about your artefacts,” Clooney said. “Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were returned. I think that is a good idea. That would be a very fair and very nice thing. I think it is the right thing to do.”
The sculptures were removed from the monument, which had been used as a gunpowder store, by Lord Elgin between 1801 and 1805, when he was ambassador to the Ottoman court in Istanbul, whichruled Greece. The collection, eventually bought by parliament in 1816 and presented to the British Museum, includes roughly half the surviving sculptures – more than 70 metres of the beautiful frieze, showing a procession of horses and warriors.
Greece has been campaigning for the Marbles’ return for decades, and – just before the recession – built a spectacular museum with windows facing the stripped temple on the Acropolis hill.
The British Museum has consistently argued that the Marbles were legally acquired by Elgin, have become an essential part of the collection, and can be seen in London, for free, in the context of the cultures of many other countries.
The museum said anybody was entitled to express a view, but the museum trustees felt there was a public benefit to having the sculptures remain part of the collection.
Give Greece the Elgin Marbles, says Clooney: Actor believes Athens has a ‘very good case’ to reclaim the sculpture
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 01:55, 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:01, 10 February 2014
George Clooney has called on Britain to hand back the Elgin Marbles to Greece.
The Hollywood star said Athens had a ‘very good case’ to reclaim the 2500-year-old sculptures which were taken from the Parthenon in the early 19th century by the Earl of Elgin.
‘Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were returned,’ said Clooney during a press conference in Berlin to launch his latest movie, The Monuments Men.
The actor directs and plays a U.S. officer in the film about a platoon sent by the Allies to try to save artefacts from being stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
‘I think that is a good idea. I think that would be a very fair and very nice thing,’ he replied when asked by a Greek journalist about the future of the famous friezes.
‘Yeah, I think it is the right thing to do,’ he said.
The artefacts have long been displayed at the British Museum in London after Elgin shipped them back to the UK in the early 1800s.
But controversy over their ownership has raged ever since.
The Greek government and many historians demand they should be handed back because they claim the Earl committed ‘cultural vandalism’ and took them without proper authority.
Many of the marbles were destroyed or damaged over the centuries and the Earl – who was the UK ambassador to the then Ottoman Empire – purchased those that remained from the authorities who governed Greece.
Clooney’s call was rejected by John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee , who suggested the actor was speaking with ignorance over the matter.
‘He’s an American. I suspect he doesn’t know why it is that Britain came to acquire the Elgin Marbles. There’s a very strong view in this country that they should stay in the UK,’ he said.
The British Museum and those who want the marbles to remain argue they are part of human history and are preserved as well as viewed for free in the UK, which ‘legally bought’ them over 200 years ago.
George Clooney calls for Britain to return Parthenon Marbles to Greece
Sunday 9 Feb 2014 11:56 am
Hollywood actor George Clooney has called for Britain to return artefacts such as the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, saying it is ‘the right thing to do’.
The 52-year-old actor was speaking at a press conference in Berlin for his new film The Monuments Men, in which he stars as part of a World War II squad who save art treasures from the Nazis.
Asked by a Greek journalist if the artefacts in the British Museum – also known as the Elgin Marbles – should be returned to Greece, he said: ‘I think you have a very good case to make about your artefacts.
‘Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were returned. I think that is a good idea.
‘I think that would be a very fair and very nice thing. Yeah, I think it is the right thing to do.’
The marbles were acquired by Lord Elgin during his time as an ambassador to the Ottoman court of the Sultan in Istanbul. They were bought by the British parliament and handed to the British Museum in 1816.
The collection has proved controversial with some claiming that Elgin took it without the proper authority.
A British Museum spokeswoman said told The Indepedent ‘anybody is entitled to their view’ but the museum’s trustees had ‘always been very clear that they feel there’s a public benefit to having the sculptures in our collection remain part of our collection’.
- George Clooney thinks Britain should return Parthenon Sculptures : February 10, 2014
- Matt Damon, Bill Murray & George Clooney on Parthenon Marbles : February 16, 2014
- Bill Murray & Matt Damon also support Marbles return : February 11, 2014
- Guardian Poll shows that more than 17 out of every 20 people support return of Marbles : February 17, 2014
- Monuments Men – the people who saved the world’s artefacts from Hitler? : November 7, 2012
- George Clooney’s new film highlights the issue of looted Nazi art : March 28, 2012
- More coverage of Andrew George MP & Stephen Fry’s success in Monday’s Parthenon Marble debate : June 13, 2012
- The campaign to return the Parthenon Marbles is an appeal to Britain’s “better instincts” : June 15, 2012