Skip to main content

The Parthenon Marbles: Athens or London?



Here are some thoughts on the display of the Parthenon marbles recorded live on the Athenian Akropolis.

Is a video blog helpful? Please leave your thoughts.

Comments

Tarquin said…
Yes, I liked the video blog (although it must be quite a lot more work). Thanks!
Agreed. I also like the video blog.
Maybe its a problem with my browser (Firefox) though - I don't know - but the video window is larger than the blog frame and covers the information on the sidebars.

Best,
Nathan
DR.KWAME OPOKU said…
Excellent presentation. It is difficult to see how anyone can objectively disagree with the view you put forward. Kwame Opoku.
CaliforniaKat said…
Hi David, I've visited before but not left a comment. Today I will.

I've lived in Athens for 11 years, visited the Acropolis on my birthday for a good part of them. While in London, I saw the marbles for the first time and admired them, but only to the extent they were exhibits, not parts of a whole.

Many people wondered, "If so many of them are here, what is left of the Parthenon?" Well, not much. I was particularly saddened to see metopes literally sawed in half, with no respect at all for an arm or horse head. That's like cutting off part of the Mona Lisa's head, I think.

And while I honor and am grateful that the UK took invaluable care of them all these years, how can we deny that Elgin was sold these marbles by the Turks when Greece was occupied?

Did you see the Christopher Hitchens op-ed?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/19/opinion/19iht-edhitchens.html?_r=1&hpw

Thank you for sharing your video :)
Paul Barford said…
I liked the video presentation too. A compelling case indeed. Thanks David.
David Gill said…
Thank you all for this response. The full version can be watched on YouTube. I did indeed read the Hitchens post.

There is more to come on this topic.
Tom Stephenson said…
Interestingly, only a few days ago someone in London came up with conclusive proof that the marbles were originally painted with vibrant colours, as a lot of early sculpture was (photo technique which picks up on Egyptian Blue particles giving off strong infra-red radiation under light).

So it looks as though the white surface of the marble was never intended to be seen in any case. Whether or not this has any bearing on the moral rights of ownership is another thing, I suppose, but the 'original light' striking the surface of them would not have reflected back in the same way as it would now in the new museum.

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

The Toledo skyphos and a Swiss private collection

The Attic red-figured skyphos attributed to the Kleophon painter in the Toledo Museum of Art (inv. 1982.88) is now coming under further scrutiny following the research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis. The skyphos shows Hephaistos returning to Olympos.

Tsirogiannis has identified what appears to be this skyphos in five photographs in the Medici Dossier. The museum acknowledged that the skyphos had resided in a 'private Swiss collection'. Tsirogiannis suggests that this is probably a reference to Medici.

Enquiries to the museum by Tsirogiannis elicited the information that the skyphos had been acquired from Nicholas Koutoulakis (although that information does not appear on the museum's online catalogue).

The curatorial team at the Toledo Museum of Art will, no doubt, be contacting the Italian authorities to discuss the future residence of the skyphos.

For further discussion of the Toledo Museum of Art on LM see here.

Reference
Tsirogiannis, C. 2017. "Nekyia: Museum ethics an…

Metropolitan Museum of Art hands over Paestan krater

In May 2014 I commented on a Paestan krater acquired by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art after it had been identified by Dr Christos Tsirogiannis in photographic images seized from Giacomo Medici. Tsirogiannis published his full concerns in the Journal of Art Crime in 2014, but it has taken a further three years for the museum to respond.

The krater showing Dionysos in a hand-drawn cart was purchased in 1989 from the Bothmer Purchase Fund (details from the Museum's website, inv. 1989.11.4). The krater surfaced through Sotheby's New York in June 1989.

It is unclear who consigned the krater to Sotheby's New York.

It has now been revealed that the krater has been handed over to the US authorities after a warrant had been issued (Tom Mashberg, "Ancient Vase Seized From Met Museum on Suspicion It Was Looted", New York Times July 31, 2018).

It appears that the museum did make an attempt to resolve the case in December 2016. Mashberg notes:
The Met, for its par…