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Greeks retreat on Elgin Marbles: Country backs down on challenge to regain sculptures after rejecting advice of Amal Clooney

“Greeks retreat on Elgin Marbles: Country backs down on challenge to regain sculptures after rejecting advice of Amal Clooney”

via “Daily Mail

Greece has backed down from a legal challenge to regain the Elgin Marbles after rejecting the advice of actor George Clooney’s barrister wife Amal.

The high-profile human rights lawyer gave the Greek government a 150-page report urging them to take Britain to the International Criminal Court for the return of the 5th century BC sculptures just two days ago.

However, Nikos Xydakis, the culture minister, said yesterday: ‘One cannot go to court over whichever issue and besides, in international courts the outcome is uncertain.’

George Clooney's barrister wife Amal (pictured) gave the Greek government a 150-page report urging them to take Britain to the International Criminal Court for the return of the 5th century BC sculptures two days ago

The Greek government has now backed down on the Elgin Marbles legal challenge and said it would follow a 'diplomatic and political' approach instead, arguing that the climate was slowly changing in Greece's favour

Instead, Athens would follow a ‘diplomatic and political’ approach, he said, arguing that the climate was slowly changing in Greece’s favour.

He added: ‘The road to reclaiming the return of the sculptures is diplomatic and political.’

There had been disquiet at the Greek government paying legal fees over the marbles at a time of austerity, though one shipping magnate had reportedly offered to pay the barristers’ fees.

The Parthenon sculptures are part of the collection popularly known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’, which were acquired by Lord Elgin in the early 1800s when he was ambassador to the Ottoman court.

The British parliament purchased the art treasures in 1816 and gave them to the British Museum.

For the past 30 years Athens has been demanding the return of the sculptures, which had decorated the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis in Athens from ancient times.

The British Museum recently turned down a proposal by UNESCO, the UN cultural agency, to mediate in the dispute.

A legal recourse had been suggested by lawyer Mrs Clooney, who is part of a team advising the Greek campaign.

Earlier this week, she said it was ‘now or never’ to win back the Elgin Marbles.. . . .

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Metropolitan Museum of Art Found to House Looted Art

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Python bell-krater acquired in 1989 matches object documented in confiscated Medici archive, according to forensic archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis: “The evidence suggests that the vase has most likely been unlawfully removed from Italian soil”

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin via “ARCA

The Classic Greek mixing-bowl attributed to the artist Python (active ca. 350 – 325 BC) of Poseidonia (Paestan) on display in Gallery 161 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City should be returned to Italy because it has no collecting history before 1989 and has been matched with photographs in the possession of a convicted art dealer, according to the work of University of Cambridge’s Christos Tsirogiannis. (You can see The Met’s description of the object online here ). 
This terracotta bell-krater, described in detail in Dr. Tsirogiannis’ column “Nekyia” in the Spring 2014 issue ofThe Journal of Art Crime, appears with soil/salt encrustations in five photographs from the confiscated Medici archive – including one Polaroid image. Then, “The object was auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York in June 1989 and the same year appeared as part of The Met’s antiquities collection,” Dr. Tsirogiannis reports.
Art dealer Giacomo Medici was convicted in 2005 of participating in the sale of looted antiquities. The story of how illicit antiquities were sold to art galleries and museums in Europe and North America was told in the 2006 book by Peter Watson & Cecilia Todeschini, The Medici Conspiracy: the illicit journey of looted antiquities, from Italy’s tomb raiders to the world’s greatest museums(Public Affairs). The Medici archives (or “Medici Dossier”)  were described as “thirty albums of Polaroids, fifteen envelopes with photographs, and twelve envelopes with rolls of film … [along with] 100 full rolls of exposed film … [for] a total of 3,600 images” found in Medici’s warehouse of antiquities in Geneva in 1995. . . . .

 

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