Elgin Marbles statue lent to Russia

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Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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One of the Elgin Marbles has been loaned by the British Museum for the first time to go on display in Russia.

The river god Ilissos, found in the Parthenon in Athens Greece nearly 2,500 years ago, has been lent to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg until mid-January.

In a blog on the British Museum’s website, Neil MacGregor said: “The British Museum is a museum of the world, for the world and nothing demonstrates this more than the loan of a Parthenon sculpture to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg to celebrate its 250th anniversary.”

The headless marble statue is one of a number of similar items that once decorated the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis and were removed more than two centuries ago by Lord Elgin, a Scottish nobleman, and are displayed in London’s British Museum.

But Greece maintains they were removed illegally during the country’s Turkish occupation and should be returned for display in a new Athens museum – which the British Museum and the Government reject.

Mr MacGregor said: “The trustees have always believed that such loans must continue between museums in spite of political disagreements between governments.

“So, when our colleagues at the Hermitage asked if we might also make an important loan to celebrate their 250th anniversary, the trustees immediately answered Yes. And no loan could more fittingly mark the long friendship of our two houses, or the period of their founding, than a sculpture from the Parthenon.”

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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