Three pieces of the Parthenon's sculpture will be returned after a deal between the Vatican and Greece. The fragments have been kept in the Vatican Museums for the past 200 years. This decision is the most recent in a string of instances when Western museums have acceded to requests for restitution and consented to restore items.
The Vatican refers to the return of the fragments as an ecumenical "donation" to the Orthodox Christian archbishop of Athens and Greece. However, this still puts a constraint on the British Museum to agree with Greece regarding the future of its much larger collection of Parthenon sculptures.
Three Fragments of the Parthenon Sculpture to be 'Donated
The Vatican City-State, the Greek Culture Minister, the Orthodox Christian Archbishop of Athens, and all of Greece agreed to implement a "donation" during a private ceremony at the Vatican Museums. According to a shared article by Yahoo! News, head of the Vatican city-state, Cardinal Fernando Vergez, signed the agreement.
The deal involves the return of a fragment of ancient Greek sculpture that had been in the Vatican's possession for centuries. The envoy, Father Emmanuel Papamikroulis, spoke to the Associated Press and said that the Greek Orthodox Church and Archbishop were grateful to Pope Francis for the agreement. He also said that the initiative would provide some sense of pride and happiness during a difficult time for Greece.
Father Emmanuel Papamikroulis stated that the initiative helps heal wounds of the past and demonstrates that Christian leaders can resolve issues in a practical way when they work together.
Fragments of ancient Greek sculptures known as the Parthenon Marbles are expected to arrive later this month in Athens by the Louvre Museum in Paris for a temporary exhibit at the Acropolis Museum. According to the Associated Press, the exhibit will mark Greece's 200-year anniversary of independence from the Ottoman Empire.
The British Museum has declined Greece's numerous appeals to return its larger collection of Parthenon sculptures, which have been displayed in London since 1816. However, the chair of the British Museum stated recently that the UK and Greece were working on a deal that would see the Parthenon Marbles displayed in both London and Athens.
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What are the Parthenon Marbles?
The Parthenon Sculptures are various types of marble architectural decorations from the Parthenon temple dedicated to Athena on the Acropolis in Athens. In the article in the British Museum, it explained that it has been made between 447BC and 432BC; they include a frieze, metopes, and figures of gods and legendary heroes. The British Museum holds 15 metopes, 17 pedimental figures, and 247ft of the original frieze.
The temple has a complex history and suffered significant damage, including an explosion in 1687 while it was used as an ammunition store. About 50% of the original architectural decoration is lost due to destruction over many centuries in the ancient world and later. Therefore, it is only possible to reconstruct the monument partially or reunite it with its sculptural decoration.
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