A response to last week’s article by Henry Porte r about why the Elgin Marbles ought to be returned to Athens.
The Observer, Sunday 27 May 2012
Greece deserves its marbles
Henry Porter (“The Greeks gave us the Olympics. Let them have their marbles”) has the balanced view, which ought to be adopted by the British Museum. The new Acropolis Museum displays the fragments that remain in Greece magnificently, in the exact lay out of the Parthenon, giving a better understanding to the visitor than is possible in the BM. To have all the marbles united, even for a loan exhibition, would enhance that and give an opportunity for artistic completion unrivalled in 200 years. Further, Greek expert conservation continues in the museum visible to the visitor: at present, laser work is cleaning one of the caryatids and is displayed on a monitor.
It was appropriate that on the day of the Olympic flame hand-over ceremony, two of the previous “stops” on the way to the Panathenaic stadium were on the Acropolis and outside the new museum. Also, at the ceremony, thousands of balloons with the words “Greece can” on them were released; for this British philhellene, it was a moving tribute to Greek pride and dignity; is the BM not able to respond?