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Posts Tagged ‘Louvre Abu Dhabi’

Remember when I mentioned that I was surprised to see bits of the Parthenon lying about the British Museum? Well, they were chiseled out from the ancient Acropolis ruins and brought back to London for Lord Elgin’s amusement (he was the UK’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire who ruled Greece at that time), and he sold it to the British Museum in 1816 when he found himself out of cash. It has been there for nearly 200 years, but for the past few decades Greece has been asking for it back.

The Brits has long said they were in a better position to preserve and protect it, but last weekend, Greece’s perfect answer has opened: The new Acropolis museum, designed by architect Bernard Tschumi and which I understand was delayed for years. It seems the Greeks have taken the opportunity to get some pre-opening publicity by stepping up their international efforts (clamouring) to retrieve the Elgin Marbles and to place it where it “rightfully belongs”.

Seems like it’s causing quite a furor. As anyone who has stepped into London’s V&A Museum will attest to, London’s museums are full of stuff belonging to other cultures and civilizations. If the Elgin Marbles goes back to Athens, this will probably set a dangerous precedent (for the UK anyway) for other recently-capable-again countries and governments to try to get back their own treasures. The same principle probably applies to the Louvre etc.

So far, the British Museum’s response is to offer a three-month loan on the condition that they will be recognised as the owners. Greece’s answer was that they (British Museum) can borrow anything they want in return for relinquishing their claimed ownership of the Marbles.

Makes you wonder if the Louvre Abu Dhabi (by architect Jean Nouvel), due to open in 2013, will try anything similar, what with reports of secret buyers snapping up all the good stuff.

The debate goes on, and I for one will be watching this with interest.

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