The Elgin Marbles and The Art World
What impact would the return of the Elgin Marbles have upon the Art World?
Would this return somehow force the Vatican State to start returning to Cairo the Egyptian collection?
Would Colonial age art collections have to start heading home? Or would the later generations claim that without the compulsive hoarding of local art by invading overloards the local art would simply have vanished. (This claim is the headline of a journalistic effort in the Telegraph which you will find here < and includes the statement “The Greeks should erect a statue of Lord Elgin near the Parthenon to express their nation’s gratitude to him for saving the Marbles”. Imperialism seems not to have ended.
These questions go to the heart of how culture operates in a global age. And the Parthenon Frieze is now a symbol for Art-Looting. “The Greek proposal that Britain fork over Elgin’s treasures has never involved actually putting the sculptures back onto the Parthenon, which started crumbling long before he showed up. The marbles would go from one museum into another, albeit one much closer. The Greeks argue for proximity, not authenticity.” (Source)
I would like to quote more Michael Kimmelman‘s article called Who Draws the Borders of Culture?:
… We are too diverse in our roots, too focused on the present, too historically amnesiac and individualistic (not to mention rich) to worry overly about a collective culture or who might own it.
And in the end patrimony is about ownership, often of objects that as in the marbles’ case, come from bygone civilizations. What, in this context, does it really mean to own culture?
Italy recently celebrated the return of a national treasure after the Metropolitan Museum gave back a sixth-century B.C. Greek krater by the painter Euphronius that tomb robbers dug up outside Rome during the 1970s. Stolen property is stolen property. But how curious that an ancient Greek vase, which centuries after it was made came into the possession of an Etruscan collector (a kind of ancient Elgin) living on what is now the outskirts of Rome, and then ended up buried for thousands of years below what became modern Italy, is today Italian cultural patrimony. By that definition, Elgin’s loot is arguably British patrimony. [**** - further reading]
Pls check back for the continuation of this topic, shortly.