Quote of the Day

It’s time to heal the wounds of the monument with the return of the marbles which belong to it.

Karolos Papoulias, Hellenic Republic president

February 25, 2014

When will UK respond to Parthenon Marbles mediation request

Posted at 2:13 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Greece’s requests for mediation through UNESCO over the return of the Parthenon Marbles were made in early October 2013, but so far there has been no response from the British Museum or British Government.

Now, the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has written to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary & Culture Secretary, along with the Trustees of the British Museum, imploring them to take this request seriously.

UNESCO logo

UNESCO logo

From:
International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

Dear Prime Minster

Last week the Guardian published the results of a poll that showed 88% of respondents believe Britain should return the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece. The poll is consistent with all the other surveys in recent years that demonstrate overwhelming British public support on this issue.

The widespread support for the return of the Marbles is not limited to the British public. There are now volunteer organisations in 16 countries that have been formed to support the claim for the sculptures to be returned; in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. (partheononinternational.org)

As you would be aware, last year the Director General of UNESCO, Irini Bokova, wrote to your Government requesting that Britain agree to participate in a UNESCO process of mediation to settle the dispute over the Parthenon Sculptures.

There are strong moral arguments for Britain to accept the UNESCO mediation initiative that would allow the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures to be resolved in a spirit of cooperation, good will and friendship, with both sides being able to respect each other’s sensitivities.

We are also confident that in a mediation process there would be the opportunity for the British Museum to explore mutually beneficial arrangements with Greece involving the return of the Marbles that would leave the British Museum in a stronger position than at present.

Accordingly, I would urge you to support the British participation in the proposed UNESCO mediation process.

I will next be in London in March and would very much like the opportunity of meeting with you to discuss the matter.

Yours sincerely

David Hill
Chairman

February 20, 2014

China’s buy back of looted artefacts continues

Posted at 1:51 pm in Similar cases

While many countries have been arguing for years about disputed artefacts abroad (with little success), China has for some time now taken an additional parallel approach to this. Buying back objects, when the come up for auction is of course something that you can only do if you have the cash reserves to carry out the plan – and the existing owner is planning on selling. The fact that there are so many Chinese artefacts abroad, means that there will always be one that is owned by someone who is planning on selling it (normally at auction).

The whole practise of buying back these works is looked down on by many as it goes a step towards legitimising the original acquisitions. It is something that only a few countries can afford to do – and indeed, in the case of China, it has mainly been undertaken by individuals doing it with the intention of bringing the works back, rather than a concerted effort by the state.

Bronzes looted from the Summer Palace during the Opium Wars

Bronzes looted from the Summer Palace during the Opium Wars

From:
South China Morning Post

Recovery of China’s lost marbles stirs debate
Recovery of relics is increasingly a marker of Beijing’s changing geopolitical clout
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 6:39pm

China has long sought to recover treasures it says were looted by foreigners, but a tycoon’s US$1.6 million deal for the return of seven white marble columns from Norway is raising unusual debate on the issue.

Critics have openly challenged the motives of real estate developer Huang Nubo, whose donation to the KODE Art Museums of Bergen paved the way for the return of the Old Summer Palace relics, and some argued they should not be “bought back”.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 17, 2014

Guardian Poll shows that more than 17 out of every 20 people support return of Marbles

Posted at 12:17 am in Elgin Marbles

There have been many polls about the Parthenon Marbles in recent years and only a few have shows anything other than a high level of support for their return. The Guardian recently ran a poll, following the publicity from George Clooney’s statements about the sculptures.

The results speak for themselves – but the end of the two day poll, the web page attracted over 2,500 comments, and the end result of the poll itself showed that 88% of those who took part were in favour of the sculptures being returned. Politicians have a tendency to state that the marbles are a complex issue & that the country is deeply divided over them – the reality though is that nearly everyone supports return – so why can’t they listen to this & respond sensibly to it, by entering into serious negotiations to resolve it?

88% favour returning Parthenon Sculptures

88% favour returning Parthenon Sculptures

From:
Guardian

Wednesday 12 February 2014 11.50 GMT
Is George Clooney correct? Should Britain return the Parthenon marbles?

While promoting his new film Monuments Men, about returning art taken by the Nazis to its rightful owners, George Clooney has said that the UK should give back the Parthenon marbles to Greece. Are you with him?

Should Britain return the Parthenon marbles to Greece?
88% - Yes
12% - No

February 16, 2014

Promakhos trailer – a fight for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 11:57 pm in Elgin Marbles

Just a few days after I last wrote about the filming of Promakhos, one of the directors got in touch with me, to let me know that the first trailer of the film had now been posted online.

The film is about a legal challenge over the Parthenon Marbles. This is an interesting dimension to the issue, as it is something that has often been raised as a possibility by campaigners & very credible cases have been put forward by a number of high profile lawyers (not least the father of the directors of this movie), but it has always been something that the Greek government has steered well clear of having any involvement with.

Having read the script a couple of years ago, I’m very eager to see the completed film once it is out later this year.

Matt Damon, Bill Murray & George Clooney on Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 11:43 pm in Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the comments made by some of the stars of the film Monuments Men, on the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

George Clooney & Bill Murray

George Clooney & Bill Murray

From:
Independent

George Clooney hits back at claims he does not understand Britain’s right to Elgin Marbles
Star responds to criticism at press conference to promote his latest film ‘The Monuments Men’
Ian Johnston
Tuesday 11 February 2014

George Clooney has hit back at suggestions that he does not understand Britain’s right to the Elgin Marbles because he is an American, as the row between Hollywood and Westminster escalated with Matt Damon and Bill Murray also weighing in.

On Saturday at a press conference in Berlin to promote his new film The Monuments Men, Clooney said he thought the marble sculptures taken from the Parthenon in Athens by the Earl of Elgin in the 19th century should be returned to Greece after a question from a Greek journalist.

That prompted John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, to tell The Independent on Sunday that Clooney might not know about the UK’s “legal entitlement” to the priceless artefacts partly because “he’s an American”.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 11, 2014

Bill Murray & Matt Damon also support Marbles return

Posted at 10:57 pm in Elgin Marbles

George Clooney has today re-stated his comments made a few days ago about the return of the Parthenon Marbles. This is in part prompted by the response by John Whittingdale of the DCMS Select Committee, who implied that being from the US, rather than the UK, Clooney probably did not know what he was talking about & did not fully understand the issue.

Today, Clooney’s support was also echoed by two of the other stars of the film – Bill Murray & Matt Damon, who came out in support of the issue at today’s press conference, where Clooney remarked that the subject was something that needed an open discussion.

An open discussion (or indeed any form of discussion) is something that campaigners have encouraged the British Museum to take part in for years. At present, it continues to issue press releases, or ignore the issue & hope it will disappear, while what is needed is a proper attempt by all parties to tackle the issue – something that the currently proposed UNESCO mediation process is intended to achieve.

In an issue, where in the past many museum professionals have spoken out in support of return, only to later backtrack, it is great that Clooney has taken the time to read up some more about the issue & to double check that his understanding of the facts was correct, before then re-stating that he still believes exactly what he said previously.

Finally, there is a peculiar response from the shadow culture minister, Helen Goodman, at the end of the Article, where she says: “How would George Clooney feel if he could only act in American films shown in the US?” If anybody can explain to me what on earth she is on about here, I’d love to have this point clarified.

Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and George Clooney

Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and George Clooney

From:
Guardian

George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon back return of Elgin marbles
Hollywood actors say Greek sculptures have had a “very nice stay” in Britain but should be returned
Mark Brown and Helena Smith in Athens
The Guardian, Tuesday 11 February 2014 20.44 GMT

They came to promote a film showing how millions of artworks were rescued and returned to their rightful owners after plunder by the Nazis. But George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon left implying that Britain, too, needed to have a long, hard, look at itself.

The Hollywood actors had become embroiled in one of the fiercest of all heritage controversies: should the Elgin marbles, removed from the Parthenon 200 years ago, be housed in London or in Athens?
Read the rest of this entry »

George Clooney on the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

More coverage of George Clooney’s statements about the Parthenon Marbles & how he believes that they should be returned to Greece.

George Clooney

George Clooney

From:
Guardian

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
Maev Kennedy
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.
Read the rest of this entry »

New weekly thematic programme at Acropolis Museum

Posted at 1:47 pm in New Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum in Athens has announced a weekly programme of talks about Greek antiquity.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum

From:
Greek Reporter

Acropolis Museum Launches a New Weekly Thematic Programme
A. Papapostolou – Feb 11, 2014

The Acropolis Museum is launching a new weekly programme with multiple thematic sessions on Greek antiquity.
Specifically, the thematic sessions will be held every Saturday at 13:00 and visitors will have the chance to participate along with archaeologists and museum staff to a series of debates. – See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/02/11/acropolis-museum-launches-a-new-weekly-thematic-programme/#sthash.CO05uVj1.dpuf

Visitors can also contribute in shaping future presentations by stating to the museum the topic that interests them. These discussions can also be made in the English language if requested.
According to information by the Acropolis Museum in Greece, the programme is divided into 26 daily sessions, each one having a different topic and is scheduled to last at least until August.
(source: ana-mpa)

February 10, 2014

George Clooney thinks Britain should return Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 12:15 am in Elgin Marbles, Marbles Reunited

The book & now the film of Monuments Men have been covered a number of times already on this website.

Now that the film is out in the cinemas, others have also made the connection between the stories it describes & that of the Parthenon Sculptures.

At a recent press conference, George Clooney was asked by a journalist about whether he thought that Britain should return Greek artefacts (a clear reference to the Parthenon Sculptures). He stated that he felt that Greece had a very good case to make, and that is would be a very fair thing to happen if they were returned.

George Clooney, Star of Monuments Men

George Clooney, Star of Monuments Men

In response to this, the the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, John Whittingdale, suggested that Clooney didn’t know what he was talking about & that “There’s a very strong view in this country that they should stay in the UK”. Clearly, he has not seen the results of the previous polls organised by the BCRPM & Marbles Reunited a few years ago, which indicated an overwhelming level of support amongst people who were well informed about the issue.

You can see a video of the actual question here:

From:
Independent

George Clooney believes Britain should lose its Marbles
Ian Johnston
Sunday 09 February 2014

Hollywood actor George Clooney has called for the UK to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, saying it is “the right thing to do”.

Clooney was speaking at the Berlin Film Festival yesterday during a press conference for his film The Monuments Men, which tells the story of a team sent by the Allies to try to save artefacts from being stolen by the Nazis.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 6, 2014

Promakhos – a movie about the Parthenon Marbles, Justice & Greece

Posted at 2:15 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

John Vorhees is an US based lawyer who I have known for a number of years now as a campaigner for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.

Last year, he introduced me to his sons John & Coerte, explaining that they intended to make a film about the reunification of the sculptures and were looking for actors to fill the lead roles.

Filming on the project started last month in Athens, for what promises to be a very interesting film, highlighting one approach that could be taken to handle the restitution of the sculptures.

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

You can view the website for the film here. For the most up to date information, follow the facebook page that they have created for the film.

More information about the cast is available on IMDB.

View the trailer for the movie in a separate later post I made here.

January 20, 2014

IARPS support for the UNESCO mediation process to resolve the Marbles deadlock

Posted at 11:13 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, International Association

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has expressed to David Cameron, the need for Britain to support the request from UNESCO for mediation on the Parthenon Sculptures issue.

From:
IARPS

A letter from the IARPS to the British Prime Minister

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to draw your attention to the world wide support for the Parthenon Sculptures held in the British Museum to be returned to Greece.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 14, 2014

Fairfield University Professor’s tour of Parthenon sculptures opens in NYC

Posted at 1:47 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

Katherine A. Schwab, a professor of Art History at Fairfield University is exhibiting her drawings of the Parthenon Marbles. The exhibition opens in New York City on January 16th. See the article for further details of other dates after that.

Parthenon sculptures drawing by Katherine A. Schwab

Parthenon sculptures drawing by Katherine A. Schwab

From:
VirtualStrategy.com

National Tour of Parthenon Drawings by Fairfield University Professor Opens in NYC on Jan. 16. 2014
PRWeb
Monday, January 13th 2014

An exhibition of drawings of the Parthenon by Fairfield University professor of art history Katherine A. Schwab, Ph. D., opens it national tour from January 16 through Feb. 13, 2014, at the Greek Consulate General in New York. Comprised of thirty-five works on paper, “An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab,” combines art, history, and archaeology to powerful effect and will travel the U.S. through 2017.

Fairfield, CT (PRWEB) January 13, 2014

Combining art, history, and archaeology to powerful effect, “An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab,” a new exhibition of drawings by Katherine A. Schwab, Ph. D., Fairfield University professor of art history, provides a glimpse into a world once inhabited by the ancient Greeks. Comprised of thirty-five works on paper, the exhibition opens to the public at the Greek Consulate General in New York on January 16, 2014, and is on view there through February 13, 2014. It then will tour nationally through 2017, marking the first time this collection of drawings travels in the United States. (full exhibition schedule follows). The Greek Consulate General in New York is located at 69 East 79th Street, New York, NY. Visiting hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Read the rest of this entry »