Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday sent a highly symbolic message in support of the return of the Parthenon Sculptures held at the British Museum, in his remarks while attending an event for the return of fragments of the sculptures from the National Archaeological Museum of Greece to the Acropolis Museum.
“The journey of return in itself transmits a loud message for the reunification of all parts of this unique monument for humanity,” the prime minister said while speaking in the Parthenon Gallery at the Acropolis Museum.
He said this was a first and very important step in the effort to collect all the pieces, both large and small, of the Parthenon’s decorative sculptures, which were currently spread all about the world in various museums.
“The reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures is not an issue of distance since, whether they are here in Athens or anywhere else in the world, their destination can only be the Sacred Rock and this wonderful museum,” Mitsotakis added.
He said that the National Archaeological Museum was indicating a path of responsibility and scientific integrity, which was also followed by the Greek state, which had upgraded the issue of the Sculptures’ return to the highest governmental level.
“A demand by UNESCO, a demand made by a majority of public opinion in the United Kingdom, but also an
issue that Prime Minister Boris Johnson also understands personally, as I discovered in our recent meeting,” Mitsotakis said, noting that Johnson had studied Classics and was a lover of Ancient Greece.
“…I am certain that he will not prevent a potential future agreement, lifting any possible political obstacle. If necessary, in fact, by modifying British law on museums in order to facilitate the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures,” he said.
According to the Greek premier, there were no longer any real arguments for delaying this important demand of the times and Greek-British relations.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni also commented on Monday’s event, saying the return of the fragments was not just symbolic but had very real value. She repeated that the sculptures at the British Museum were an “integral and inseparable part of a complex architectural and artistic work, as the make up a single and indivisible natural, aesthetic and semantic entity.”
The fragments being returned on Monday are from the frieze, the metopes and pediments of the Parthenon. One of them is the head of a youth from a sculpture that is currently held in the Louvre in Paris, while the second is from the north section of the frieze.
The event ended with the placement of the shards in their permanent positions.