News Column

Great corpus

July 3, 2014

Maev Kennedy

The British Museum is planning an exhibition on the human body in Greek sculpture - which will inevitably stir up feelings on the most famous and bitterly contested Greek sculptures in the world, the procession of warriors, torch bearers, priests, musicians, nymphs and centaurs of the Parthenon marbles.

Although director Neil MacGregor said the exhibition, planned for next spring, would include "key loans", he refused to say whether the museum will be seeking any sculptures from the Parthenon temple that Greece still holds or any other loans from Greece.

Some of the British Museum's Parthenon marbles will be included, shown beside sculptures from other countries heavily influenced by the muscular bodies and fluttering draperies perfected by Greek sculptors.

The ownership of the sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles, became a festering dispute after Lord Elgin secured a permit from the early 19th century Ottoman rulers of Greece to strip them from the temple on the Acropolis mount in Athens and ship them to England.

The museum announced in its annual review that it has had another record-breaking year, with visitor numbers up in 2013 by 20% to 6.7m, making it the leading UK attraction and the second most visited museum in the world. Its touring exhibitions were seen by another 2 million.

Vikings, the first exhibition in its temporary exhibition gallery, attracted 300,000 visitors. Maev Kennedy

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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