Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2131825
 


 



The Parthenon Sculptures and Cultural Justice


Derek Fincham


South Texas College of Law

August 18, 2012

Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 23

Abstract:     
From government and philosophy to art drama and culture, the ancient Athenians, as most everyone knows, gave future generations so much. Yet the pinnacle of their artistic achievement, the Parthenon, remains a damaged and incomplete work of art. 2012 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the last removal of works of art from the Parthenon. That taking was ordered by an English diplomat known to history as Lord Elgin, and it reminds us that cultures create lasting monuments. But not equally. Cultures which remove the artistic achievements of other nations have increasingly been confronted with uncomfortable questions about how these objects were acquired. Nations of origin are increasingly deciding to press claims for repatriation of works taken long ago. They proceed through history mindful of the irresistible genius of their forebears have created and are unwilling to cease their calls for return.

The majority of the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon in Greece now are currently on display in the British Museum in London. The Greek government and cultural heritage advocates, have been asking for reunification of these sculptures in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. Greece has offered a number of concessions, but the British Museum and the British Government have repeatedly refused to seriously discuss reunification.

Mounting pressure on the British Museum, and the inescapable fact that the Parthenon was an ancient unified work of art both mean that the Parthenon marbles will either eventually be returned to Greece or subject to an endless repatriation debate. Here I offer a series of principles which the Greeks and the British Museum can take to jointly create a just return. Because the way the British Museum and Greece resolve this argument will have much to say for the future of the management of our collective cultural heritage.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 74

Keywords: British Museum, Parthenon Marbles, Elgin marbles, antiquity, cultural heritage law, restitution, repatriation

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: August 19, 2012 ; Last revised: April 11, 2013

Suggested Citation

Fincham, Derek, The Parthenon Sculptures and Cultural Justice (August 18, 2012). Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 23. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2131825 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2131825

Contact Information

Derek Fincham (Contact Author)
South Texas College of Law ( email )
1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States
9546678328 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 828
Downloads: 169
Download Rank: 98,776

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo2 in 0.594 seconds