Can Culture Transcend Russia-West Conflict?

17 Dec 2014 12:38 PM | Anonymous

Can Culture Transcend Russia-West Conflict?

While the West is eager to punish Putin over Ukraine, many were outraged when the British Museum decided to lend Russia one of the most esteemed vestiges of Western art and civilization: the Parthenon marbles. The British Museum announced its loan of the statue of Greek river god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, marking the first time any of the British Museum’s collection of the marbles has left Britain. 

The debate since then has settled into a now familiar set of arguments over which country has legal and moral sovereignty over the object’s display.

Controversy has followed the marbles since Thomas Bruce, seventh earl of Elgin, claimed in 1811 to have obtained a permit to remove the classical Greek marble sculptures from the Acropolis in Athens. They were purchased by the British government and passed to the British Museum. Greece has long lobbied for the restoration of the country’s monuments, and this year UNESCO agreed to mediate the dispute between Britain and Greece.
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