The reunification of the Parthenon Marbles is an international demand and not a dispute between the UK and Greece, the director of the Acropolis Museum said on Tuesday.
“The issue of the Parthenon Sculptures is not a dispute between the British and the Acropolis [Museums]. It is not even a dispute between the UK and Greece,” Professor Nikolaos Stampolidis told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA).
“The reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures to the body they belong to is an international demand for the restoration of the monument that is the universal symbol of democracy,” he said, commenting on a recent statement by the deputy director at the British Museum, Jonathan Williams, to The Sunday Times.
“The issue of the sculptures is not bilateral, it is a matter of the international, western culture, not only of Europe but also of Australia, New Zealand, North and South America and of all the democracies,” Stampolidis said after Williams indicated the possibility of a new “cultural exchange” agreement.
“Mutual loans are already being carried out between the two museums but not for the disputed Parthenon Sculptures,” Stampolidis. “We claim the Parthenon Sculptures as architectural parts of the body of a monument.”
“I do not call them marbles because marble is the material they are made from, but architectural sculptures of Parthenon that constitute an integral part of the monument,” he told AMNA.
British Museum floats the idea of sharing the Parthenon Marbles
“What we are calling for is an active ‘Parthenon partnership’ with our friends and colleagues in Greece,” Dr Williams stated. “I firmly believe there is space for a really dynamic and positive conversation within which new ways of working together can be found.”
The British Museum has not said it will hand the sculptures back, as Dr Williams argued they are an “absolutely integral part” of the collection.
However, he said they “want to change the temperature of the debate” and that all sides need to “find a way forward around cultural exchange of a level, intensity and dynamism which has not been conceived hitherto.”
“There are many wonderful things we’d be delighted to borrow and lend. It is what we do,” he added.