British Museum: Parthenon Sculptures do not belong to Greece – We do not return them or borrow them

The Parthenon Sculptures  do not belong to Greece, but to the British Museum Commissioners anwill not be returned permanently to our country, Harvich Fischer said in a recent interview. 

The German art historian, who is head of the British Museum since 2016 ,  as his first non-British director, explicitly excludes the possibility of “indefinite borrowing,” but generally of any borrowing, if Greece does not accept that Sculptures belong to British.

In his interview with NEA, Fischer spoke “about the legitimate owner of the Sculptures” and described the shifting of the Sculptures to London as a “creative act”. 

“I can understand that the Greeks have a special and passionate relationship with this part of their cultural heritage and want to see all the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens, ” said Mr. Fischer


“We exhibit the Parthenon sculptures in a context of global civilizations, highlighting achievements from all over the world under the same roof,” he said, expressing the view that the history of the monument “is enriched by the fact that some of its parts are exhibited in Athens and others in London”. 

“In each of these two locations, sculptures show different aspects of an incredibly rich and multilevel story,” Fisher said, describing the sculpture’s shift, either in London or the Acropolis Museum, as a “creative act.” 

Asked if, however, he thinks it is the same thing, he admitted it was different to display the sculptures at the Acropolis museum, opposite their monument of origin, from being exposed to London. 

We have excellent relations with our colleagues at the Acropolis Museum, said Mr. Fischer and stressed that the Museum lends thousands of items every year, lends to the Acropolis museum, but in terms of the rumored talks on the topic, he replied that there are no talks on development.


As far as accepting the view that Greece is the legitimate owner of the Sculptures, Mr. Fischer said, “I would not accept it. The objects of the British Museum’s collection are under the ownership of the museum’s commissioners “and noted that there is no case of sculpture indefinitely. At the same time, he said the British Museum lends it to those who recognize the ownership of the objects. 

Harvey Fischer has been actively involved in the debate over the last few years on the return of marbles to Greece, defending the Museum’s steady position that Sculptures should remain in London.


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