Quote of the Day

I understand what museums fear. They think everything will have to go back if the marbles do. But the Acropolis is special.

Giorgos Voulgarakis, Former Hellenic Republic Minister of Culture

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 »

December 10, 2013

Your chance to purchase a historic cast of the Parthenon frieze

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

Quite aside from the ethical implications, no private individual today is ever going to get to own the Parthenon Sculptures. The closest you could get to having a piece of them in your own home is to have a high quality cast. Many casts were made at one time or another, but some are better than others – it depends a lot on which generation they are, in terms of how far removed they are from the original sculptures.

Nowadays the British Museum Shop makes resin casts. The horse of Selene appears in Charlton Heston’s garden at the end of the film Bowling for Columbine, and I happen to know that British TV presenter William G Stewart also has a similar piece in his garden.

Some of the best casts are those that were made by the Brucciani company. Laura Steel, a teacher in Classics at Northern Illinois University, acquired what is thought to be one of these casts, and she has now advertised it for sale on Ebay.

Its the sort of thing that should ideally go to a university or museum, but I would imagine that it would also be of interest to many private collectors too.

For those of you gulping at the price tag for a plaster cast, as she explains at the end of the auction notes, this is comparable to the values that other similar pieces have sold for in recent years.

Parthenon frieze slab cast by D Brucciani & Co

Parthenon frieze slab cast by D Brucciani & Co

From:
Ebay

Full-sized Brucciani plaster copy of Parthenon frieze slab Athena Greek Greece
RARE and IRREPLACEABLE cast of one of the Elgin Marbles

Price:
US $7,500.00

Seller Notes: “Excellent used/vintage condition, with no visible flaws in the front surface. There is one larger chip in rear lower framing and a few tiny flakes from upper/lower edges (see photos).”

Regarding the piece for sale:
This piece is an irreplaceable, vintage, life-scale plaster copy of the East V Parthenon frieze slab depicting Athena and Hephaestus seated that was likely situated directly above the main entrance to the Parthenon (see photo for accepted scholarly placement of this slab within the frieze). The original is one of the Elgin Marbles held by the British Museum. While it would be even more ideal for potential buyers to see this piece in the (plaster) flesh, the photos should at least demonstrate that the cast is in excellent condition and is made in the traditional way, with un-sanded plastered strips along the back. It measures approximately 119 x 101 x 13 cm and appears to have metal framing, at least along the top edge, that would be strong enough to hang the piece on a wall surface without attaching any additional hardware.
Read the rest of this entry »

December 6, 2013

Once wars are over, shouldn’t the spoils of war be returned as an act of reconciliation?

Posted at 2:07 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Following David Cameron’s questioning by the Chinese over disputed artefacts in the British Museum, this article looks at some of the other similar cases & how perhaps the ownership of cultural artefacts needs rethinking.

David Cameron signed up on Weibo - a Chinese Social Network

David Cameron signed up on Weibo – a Chinese Social Network

From:
Khaleej Times (UAE)

Render unto Caesar…
6 December 2013

BRITISH PRIME Minister David Cameron’s visit to China has evoked at least one reaction from the Middle Kingdom that is going to find resonance in many parts of the world. It is the demand that Britain return the Chinese national treasures looted by the British Army during the sacking of the Forbidden City following a peasant uprising in the 19th century.

The British Museum alone has 23,000 such trophies lifted after an eight-nation Western troop brutally put down the uprising. Thousands more plundered works of art lie scattered around the world. The British Museum has refused to hand over its ill-gotten gains, claiming they have now become part of world heritage and can be enjoyed by more people if they are in a centrally located place like London. If location is the criterion, then the UAE can lay one of the best claims to housing the looted collection.
Read the rest of this entry »

USA returns Mayan frieze to Guatemala, so why shouldn’t Britain return Parthenon Frieze to Greece?

Posted at 9:17 am in Similar cases

The Guatemalan authorities announced that an agreement had been reached with the USA for the return of a carved stone Mayan frieze. This return adds to over 10,500 disputed artefacts already returned to Guatemala from around the world in recent years.

Whilst I always assert that every cultural property dispute is different & should be dealt with on its own terms, it is still easy for anyone to see the parallels between one carved stone frieze & the Frieze from the Parthenon (part of which is currently in the British Museum.

Limestone Mayan Frieze

Mayan frieze returned to Guatemala by USA

From:
iEfimerida (google translated)

The impressive frieze of Maya returned to Guatemala
03/12/2013 14:06

The Guatemalan government officially announced the return of the U.S. giant Mayan frieze dating from the classical period, between 250 and 900 BC. The restoration and maintenance procedures were completed and returned the frieze in the country.

This is a work of art from limestone, which is a height of about 50 cm and was located in the northern province of Peten, a region considered the birthplace of the ancient Mayan civilization.

The last 10 years, Guatemala has recovered more than 10,500 antiquities that were in other countries, such as USA, Germany, Britain and France, after the La Corona and other archaeological sites in the Petén looted in the 19th century.

December 5, 2013

Cameron harangued online via Weibo by Chinese angry about looted artefacts in British Museum

Posted at 7:19 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Another week, another trade mission abroad by David Cameron. This one has ended similarly to his trip to India, where all the publicity rapidly became focused on demands for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond.

In this case, it was the various items that were taken from the Summer Palace in Beijing, after it was ransacked by British troops. Large numbers of these aretfacts ended up in the British Museum, although many more of them are scattered across various private collections around the world. In recent years, there has been more than one instance where once has come up for auction.

What adds interest to this story (from the point of view of this website) is the fact that the raiding of the Summer Palace took place under the command of the Eighth Earl of Elgin – the son of the Seventh Earl, who was the Lord Elgin who removed the sculptures from the Parthenon. As a result, these actions of the Eighth Earl are detested just as much by the Chinese, as those of the Seventh Earl are reviled by the Greeks.

Battles between Chinese forces and Allied armies during the suppression of the Boxer rebellion.

Battles between Chinese forces and Allied armies during the suppression of the Boxer rebellion.

From:
The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Return our looted treasures
Chinese think-tank tells visiting UK PM
Afp, Beijing

British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday faced demands for the return of priceless artefacts looted from Beijing in the 19th century, on the last day of his visit to China.
Cameron travelled to the southwestern city of Chengdu on the third day of what embassy officials said was the largest ever British trade mission to the country.
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November 28, 2013

Acropolis Restoration architect Manolis Korres to receive Feltrinelli award

Posted at 2:10 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

The Manolis Korres, the architect in charge of the Acropolis Restoration has become the first Greek to receive the prestigious Feltrinelli award for his contributions to the field of Archaeology & restorations.

Manolis Korres

Manolis Korres

From:
Greek Reporter

Feltrinelli Int’l Prize Awarded to Greek Professor Manolis Korres
By Sotiria Nikolouli on November 24, 2013

The Feltrinelli International Prize was awarded to Professor of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens Manolis Korres, for his contribution in the field of archeology and restorations.

This international award is the highest distinction awarded by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei of Rome — one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific academies worldwide founded in 1603 — and in the past has included members of prominent figures such as Galileo. The Feltrinelli International Prize is awarded to personalities who have distinguished themselves for their high contribution in art, literature, history, philosophy, medicine and mathematics. It is awarded once every five years and is accompanied by a significant amount of money. A second award is given alongside an international organization for humanitarian action.
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