When least expected, an answer comes forward that goes beyond a country’s claim, international law and suggests there is a global sense of decency when addressing cultural heritage and patrimony. Dr. Gary Vikan, during one of his last public lectures as the director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and completely not related to the topic of his lecture on his upcoming book on the Shroud of Turin, was asked, “Should the Elgin Marbles be returned?”
Are the Brits confused? What a curious gathering of passionate art collectors in Britain today. Imagine the dignified antiquity collectors in the same room as those just as passionate to own – graffiti.
Edward Dodwell and Lord Elgin meet again, two hundreds years later. A rarely seen collection of illustrations by Edward Dodwell, a painter and reporter of ancient Greece is currently on display at the British Museum. In his writings, Dodwell tells of “being present when the Parthenon was despoiled of its finest sculpture”. Now, his illustrations are being presented at the British Museum, while the “finest sculpture” is on permanent display – the Parthenon Marbles.
Delicious irony when Greek mythology filled with gods for love, wine and harvest is trumped by Biblical parables on theft, sibling rivalry and coveting someone else’s property. Only the absurd can be told in an imaginary tale of a king, his sons and their choices in art.
Georg Luck, professor of classics at Johns Hopkins University, a great teacher and translator of the ancients has passed today.
Seven rare and priceless artifacts were repatriated to Italy, as part of an on-going international effort to track down, recover and return trafficked works and objects of art.