(MENAFN- USA Art News) Greece's prime minister hinted in an interview about a possible solution to the longstanding and bitter conflict with England over the Parthenon Marbles, iconic artifacts that were removed from Athens two centuries ago and now reside at the British Museum. But he refuses any resolution that would acknowledge the Brits' ownership of the works by calling their travel to Greece a“loan,” he said.
“We will never recognize that these sculptures are owned, legally owned by the British Museum,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the associated press in an interview at a recent election campaign event in the Greek city of Volos.
“I wouldn't like to comment publicly on the discussions that we've had,” Mitsotakis said.“I would just say that we are, without changing ... our fundamental position about the ownership of the sculptures, we're trying to explore a possible win-win proposition that would work for both sides.”
A British Museum spokesperson told artnet news in January that the two parties were working on a solution in talks that the museum deemed“constructive.” The negotiations concerned the works going on display in both London and Athens.
That statement came after the Telegraph reported that the museum's chairman, George Osborne, had drafted a historic deal with Greece to possibly return the treasures in a“cultural exchange” that would effectively be a“loan agreement.”
When asked recently, Mitsotakis refused any resolution that refers to the works' display in Greece as a“loan.”
“No, no,” he said.“That word 'loan' is not part of ... what I consider a win-win solution.”
The issue has been on hold during Mitsotakis's election campaign.“Should we get reelected,” he said,“I'm looking to pick up again the momentum and build upon the progress that we have made.”
Created between 447 and 432 BC, the artworks once adorned the frieze of the great temple to Athena at the Parthenon, much of which was destroyed during a siege in 1687. British Lord Elgin removed many of the surviving works in the early 19th century, while Greece was under Ottoman rule. Greece says the removal took place under occupation, and was illegal.
Officials at the British Museum, where the works have been installed since 1816, have historically rejected these claims, and British law prohibits returning artifacts from the British Museum.
Other institutions have been more accommodating to the Greeks' calls for return. In December, Pope Francis ordered the Vatican Museums to return three marble fragments from the Parthenon in what he called a“donation” to the head of the Greek Orthodox Church.
More Trending Stories:
a philadelphia man paid $6,000 for cracked church windows he saw on facebook. turns out they're tiffany-and worth a half-million
mona lisa's other secret-where the portrait was painted-may have been solved by an art historian using drone imagery
a dutch museum has organized a rare family reunion for the brueghel art dynasty-and the female brueghels are invited to the party
the smithsonian national museum of african art's director has resigned after less than two years, citing 'resistance and backlash'
'we're not all ikea-loving minimalists': historian and author michael diaz-griffith on the resurgence of young antique collectors
the first auction of late billionaire heidi horten's controversial jewelry proves wildly successful, raking in $156 million
an airbnb host got more than they bargained for with a guest's offbeat art swap-and the mystery has gone viral on tiktok
not patriarchal art history, but art 'herstory': judy chicago on why she devoted her new show to 80 women artists who inspired her
an artist asked chatgpt how to make a popular memecoin. the result is 'turbotoad,' and people are betting millions of dollars on it
an elderly man spray-painted a miriam cahn painting at a paris museum after right-wing attempts to censor it failed
the netflix series 'transatlantic' dramatizes the effort to evacuate artists from france during world war ii. here's what actually happened in real life