So the Elgin Marbles are on display in St Petersburgh, Russia.
This is seen as important as art transcends the frosty relationship between the UK and Russia. The UK could have acted out and not sent the art. This is a noble act of art over politics.
The Director of the British Museum from where they were lent, said that “he hoped the Greek government would be delighted.” Really?
Greece has always maintained that Lord Elgin stole them when Greece was under the rule of the Turks. Some say that he was a thief and others someone who rescued artefacts from further damage and neglect.
This can happen in families. The last parent of figure from a last generation dies and all the relatives go in for a grab of whatever they can find. The main consistent point is that whatever was done by the perpetrator is advertised as being the right thing to do and is generally irreversible. This resolve hardens over time, making actual and concrete what started as an act that could be seen at best problematic and worst criminal.
Time has a personality which turns and fixes wrongs into right.
Only when an appreciation of the depth of the crime is recognised such as the latest sexual abuse revelations, is a trauma is revealed. Then it becomes a painful process of further revelations. One revelation cannot not be singly revealed: revelations happen in a series. Attached, connected and peeling off together exposing more and more that was not intended to be revealed. Then an examination of context and culture reveals the state’s lack of action in an environment which supported the crimes.
And so it is the same with the Elgin Marbles. What would be revealed if the Elgin Marbles were returned to Greece? A precedent might be set where half the worlds’ museum displays would have to return their artefacts to their country of origin.
So the Elgin Marbles stay in the UK only to be lent out.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2014
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.