“Greece and the United Kingdom are starting official talks on the return of the Parthenon Marbles,” reads today's article on the website of the French newspaper Le Figaro. Specifically, the following are mentioned:
“It simply came to our notice then. A historic meeting between the Greek and British Ministers of Culture on the ancient Parthenon sculptures kept in the British Museum is expected to take place “as soon as possible”, Unesco announced on Tuesday, accompanying the discussions between the two countries.
The meeting between Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendonis and Undersecretary of State for Arts Stephans Parkinson appears to have been decided in April to follow a discussion that began in London last November between British Prime Minister Johnson and Greek counterpart Kyriakos Kyriakos. Although he had previously strongly opposed any restoration of the Parthenon sculptures, Johnson had softened his stance in the case, confirming that it would be up to the British Museum to decide on their possible return. However, the museum's involvement in the talks announced by Unesco has not been confirmed.
These ancient ones – which unfold in about 75 meters – correspond to almost half of the Panathenaic frieze that adorned the perimeter of the Parthenon, the temple of Athena located in the heart of the Acropolis of Athens. The carved reliefs attributed to Pheidias around the middle of the 5th century BC are one of the most recognized masterpieces of classical art. The British Museum also preserves many other ancient Parthenon artifacts, including many metopes from the Temple of Athena, a caryatid from the Erechtheion and various other fragments from the Acropolis.
Remaining at a dead end for a long time, the fate of the Elgin marbles has again become a matter of topicality and friction between Greece and the United Kingdom in recent years. This revival is guided by a favorable international context, characterized by many restorations. So last fall, France returned 26 pieces of Abomey's royal treasure to Benin, and Germany has also pledged to return to Nigeria some of the cultural property looted in the late 19th century.
British public opinion is also moving in the direction of the return of Athenian works to Greece. In November, a poll showed that 59% of Britons believed that Elgin Marbles & # 8220; belonged to Greece & # 8221 ;. This favorable atmosphere did not go unnoticed by the Greek government. & # 8220; There could not be a better time than now to reunite the lost part of the Parthenon sculptures in their birthplace, Greece & # 8221 ;, Kyriakos Mitsotakis insisted in a speech to Unesco on November 12. Sign of the change of times: a first piece of the Parthenon was found in January at the Acropolis Museum, which exhibits the findings of the ancient site. It was not, however, a British marble, but a piece borrowed from Italy. “
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