The headless sculpture, in the British Museum, of the river god Ilissos from the Parthenon frieze
 
BBC News, Entertainment & Arts reports today on the British Museum’s loan to Russia of the headless sculpture of the river god Ilissos from the Parthenon frieze –
 
The British Museum has loaned one of the Elgin Marbles for the first time. A headless depiction of the river god Ilissos has been sent to Russia to go on display in St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum until mid-January. It is one of a number of relics acquired by Lord Elgin in Athens in the early 19th Century, now known collectively as the Elgin Marbles.
 
Ownership of the artefacts, once part of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, is disputed by Greece. It maintains that Lord Elgin removed them illegally while the country was under Turkish occupation as part of the Ottoman Empire. The items have remained in the British Museum ever since.
 
The museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, said: “The British Museum is a museum of the world, for the world and nothing demonstrates this more than the loan of a Parthenon sculpture to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg to celebrate its 250th anniversary.”
 
“The greatest things in the world should be… shared and enjoyed by as many people in as many countries as possible”
 
Neil MacGregor
Director, British Museum.
 
More here. See also our earlier features on the sculptures by typing Elgin Marbles into the search box above.