President Emmanuel Macron of France is considering lending to Greece a marble frieze removed from the temple of Parthenon, which is currently housed at the Louvre in Paris. According to the Greek news agency ANA, the plan was discussed during recent talks between Macron and the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who hopes to secure the loan for the country’s bicentennial independence celebrations in 2021.
The Louvre would, in return, receive a collection of bronze artefacts. “The details will be worked out by the respective culture ministries. This is a temporary exchange,” a Greek government official told ANA.
The move puts renewed pressure on the British Museum in London to reconsider its position over the Parthenon sculptures in its collection, which were transported to Britain in the early 1800s by Lord Elgin.
The British Museum trustees say that the Greek government has never asked to loan the sculptures, only “for the permanent removal of all the sculptures in its care to Athens”.