Sunday, October 23, 2005

Snodgrass on the 'Elgin' Marbles

A bit of sense.

Many of the British Museum's claims are either unfounded, or have now become obsolete.

"We own the Marbles because Lord Elgin fairly bought and paid for them" - but he did not. "More people see the sculptures in London than in Athens" - no longer true. "The Greeks would not look after the sculptures properly" - this one is a case of "people living in glass houses..." What happened to the London sculptures in 1938, when they were attacked with chisels and abrasives to make them look whiter, has no counterpart with the Athens pieces, as was shown particularly in 2004 when the West Frieze of the Parthenon, which Elgin had left in place, was first exhibited (after a long process of conservation) on the Acropolis.

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