Easy for them to say: Clooney, Murray, Damon want Greece’s Patrimony Back!

As reported in the LA Times, movie stars George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon recently made statements around the launch of their movie “Monuments Men” that the British Museum should return the Elgin Marbles back to Greece.

But what, you say, would that mean for all the Egyptian stuff at the Louvre that was carted off by Napoleon at around the same time? Damon reasonably dismisses British protests that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he’s an American, but cultural patrimony is not a black-and-white issue. The argument can be made that cultural property laws restrict international trade in antiquities, and that if they had always existed, the world’s great border-crossing encyclopedic museums wouldn’t be nearly so great, or so border-crossing. So what’s more important, George et al.: stewardship, or ownership?

also by Glasstire

3 responses to “Easy for them to say: Clooney, Murray, Damon want Greece’s Patrimony Back!”

  1. Interesting take: stewardship and ownership.
    Perhaps there should be a statute of limitations on some of this. Or, at least, a thorough clarification of provenance claims on, what, each and every object in national museums, not produced in that nation?
    And I still don’t get the rationale behind Matt Damon’s call to have the Mona Lisa returned to Italy. Or maybe those guys are just speaking out to promote the movie.

  2. Make that: “produced in those nations”.

  3. I still love George Clooney, but I just can’t deal with this issue until he stops referring to the “Pantheon Marbles.” Really, George?

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