An explosive and highly controversial theory by a British art historian and sculptor. The Parthenon Marbles – or Elgin Marbles, according to the Brits – that were stolen by the 7th Earl of Elgin from the Acropolis in Athens beginning of the 1800’s are “fake.” Nigel Konstam argues that they are in fact Roman reproductions during the Hadrian era, six centuries after Phidias supervised the great works on the Parthenon in the Classical Greek period.
Eminent art historian Nigel Konstam has published a booklet arguing that many of the works ‘spirited away’ by the 7th Earl of Elgin in the 1800s are in fact Roman reproductions of the Greek originals that had been eroded by acid rain caused by chimney effluent.
His explosive theory is based on the recent discovery of a chimney near the Parthenon used by the great 5th century sculptor Phidias to cast his giant bronzes.
Konstam’s speculation has reached the ears of the current Earl of Elgin, 94, and sent shock waves through the British Museum.
‘My case is strong because the evidence to support my view is so simple and compelling and obvious, even to the layman, who can see the differences for himself,’ says Konstam, a sculptor and bronze caster educated at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art.
He argues that the Roman statues were carved differently and look much cleaner than the Greek ones, which were etched with fragile iron and bronze tools, causing bruising and microcracks which allowed the smoke to penetrate deeper.
The British Museum’s senior curator Ian Jenkins has shown interest in the theory,” notes dailymail.
‘This is an interesting set of, at least to me, new ideas,’ he wrote in a letter to the sculptor.
‘I have never heard before the connection between Roman replacements of the west pediment sculptures of the Parthenon and smoke. Not since the days of Richard Payne Knight, and his falling out with Lord Elgin, has anybody been so radical as to suggest that the entire west pediment is a Roman replacement.’
Lord Bruce, the son and heir to the current Earl of Elgin, tells me from the family’s 300-year-old home in Fife that he is not convinced.
‘I can’t believe there was that much pollution caused by the chimney,’ he says according to the British daily. ‘His theory is at least not as ridiculous as one currently doing the rounds that the Parthenon was a burial ground for young maidens.’
However, Nigel Konstam did not claimed his theory about the Elgin Marbles just yesterday.
In the video uploaded on youtube on 20. April 2018, he demonstrated that some of the Elgin Marbles are most likely to be Roman replacements (from the time of Hadrian) of the Greek originals. The evidence comprised archaeological and aesthetic factors which Konstam demonstrated in a “Tour of the Elgin Marbles”.
If the Elgin Marbles theory turns 100% waterproof, then Greece could drop its efforts for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.
Or it the fake Marbles theory the reason that the British Museum has turned down their return to Greece so far?
I mean, experts can definitely determine whether the sculptures of the Elgin Marbles were executed in the 4th century BC or six centuries later, in Hadrian’s era in the 2nd century AD.