The marble friezes of the Parthenon kept by the British Museum in London must be returned to Greece, says Hollywood star George Clooney. The actor talks about the centuries-old dispute over the so-called “Elgi marbles”, in the hope of their return to Athens.
The American actor already addressed this topic in 2014, after filming the film “Monuments Men”, now returning to the same thorny issue during a visit to Greece.
As the Greek nation prepares to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its independence from the Ottoman Empire on March 25, Clooney has once again called on the United Kingdom to repair and return to Athens the important marble collection of the Parthenon, one of the the greatest treasures of the British Museum in the early nineteenth century, when they arrived in London at the initiative of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin.
“There are many articles of historical value that must be returned to their original owners, but none of them is as important as the Parthenon marbles,” the actor said according to the Greek newspaper “Ta Nea”. “The Parthenon sculptures must be returned to the original owner,” Clooney said.
This is not the first time the American actor has been involved in the repatriation of Greek marble friezes. George Clooney had already spoken in 2014 about the return of the Elgin collection to Greece, on the occasion of the release of the film “Monuments Men”, the story of an American group that discovered works of art stolen by the Nazis. If his statements angered Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, they also brought him the friendship of lawyer Amal Alamuddin, whom he married a few years later.
The marble friezes of the Parthenon are the subject of an ancient dispute between Greece and the United Kingdom. The sculptures and architectural elements of the Acropolis temple dedicated to the goddess Athena (made between 438 and 432 BC) were removed mainly in 1801-1802 under the supervision of the British ambassador to Constantinople, Lord Elgin, during the Ottoman rule in Greece.
The aristocrat brought back to England the two pediments of the temple, the main frieze and a good part of its historical metopes, of which at least a part is attributed to the Athenian sculptor Phidias. The marble sculptures were sold in 1816 to the British Crown, which has since exhibited them at the British Museum.
Inaugurated in 2009, the new Acropolis Museum in Athens has designed a large exhibition space in advance to house all the marble sculptures of the Parthenon that Greece continues to demand at regular intervals.
It seems that the most reluctant are the British institutions, eager to keep in the homeland an invaluable treasure of classical art: in 2014, a study showed that only a minority of Britons opposed the return of the Parthenon marbles to Athens. Other celebrities, such as Liam Neeson, have called for the repatriation of marble friezes from the British Museum, while UNESCO and the European Union have also called for an end to the two-century-old cultural dispute.
Source: Rainews.it/ Rador / Translation: Cătălina Păunel