November 29, 2007

The Parthenon Sculptures in the British Museum

Posted at 1:54 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Ian Jenkins of the British Museum has just written a new book about the portion of the Parthenon sculptures located there.

Daily Telegraph

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The Parthenon Sculptures in the British Museum by Ian Jenkins

The British Museum does not, of course, own all the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon, but only those given by Lord Elgin. Nearly half still remain in Athens. Many others have been destroyed by explosion, iconoclasm and other misfortunes. What this book illustrates, therefore, is a fragment of a fragment.

That impression is reinforced by the fact that the most telling of its many illustrations often focus on a detail – an intact face, say, in a damaged panel from the frieze. The photographs are often beautiful and evocative. They are accompanied by a pithy and erudite commentary and history of the Parthenon and its vicissitudes.

None the less, it would be good to see all of these great sculptures reunited – either in a book, or more thrillingly, but at present most improbably – in an exhibition.


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