The Parthenon sculptures Greece is demanding back from Britain could be shared by the two countries, British Museum Chairman George Osborne told LBC, a digital news service registered in the UK, on Wednesday. It is the first time such a proposal is made form the British side that has so far vehemently insisted on its possession.
Osbourne hinted a deal could be reached where the ancient artifacts could be displayed in both countries.
“The Elgin Marbles, the Parthenon sculptures, they’re an amazing testament to human civilization. In the British Museum, they tell a story about civilization compared to all the other civilizations, China, India, other parts of Mediterranean. In Greece, they tell the story, just Greek civilization.”
“I think there’s a deal to be done, but I think there’s a deal to be done where we can tell both stories in Athens and in London,” former Tories Minister and chairman of the British Museum since 2021, George Osbone told LBC.
The set of sculptures, a major part of the 5th-century Parthenon’s decoration, have been a source of friction between Greek governments and the British Museum, where they are shown.
Osborne’s statements to LBC were the first to hint at an opening to a compromise.
“If we both approach this without a load of preconditions without a load of red lines, and we sit down as sensible people because I think sensible people can arrange something that makes the most of the path novels, but if either side says there’s no give at all, then there won’t be a deal,” Osborne said.
He added he would support an arrangement where the pieces were shared between London and Athens.
Calling them “an amazing testament to human civilization,” the museum official was asked whether that meant you could “move some of them to Greece at last for a while, and then back to London.”
Osborne responded, “that kind of arrangement. Sensible people should come up with something where you can see them in their splendor in Athens, and see them among the splendors of other civilizations in London.”
So far, there is not reaction by the Greek Culture Ministry.
A first reaction, however, came from the curator of the Acropolis Museum, Dimitris Pandermalis, who expressed disbelief and described the proposal as “a maneuver to stop the noise.”
Speaking to state broadcaster ERT on Wednesday evening, Pandermalis stressed “this request is a maneuver to stop the noise around the sculptures without being a real solution. It is not a solution for someone to lend you something that you consider it is not their property.”
And You? What do you think of Osborne’s proposal?