Pope Francis called the works’ repatriation a “donation.”
But Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who says the UK is “cornered,” plans to insist on the marbles’ return during a visit this year.
In an action at the museum this weekend, participants made impassioned speeches calling for the return of the sculptures and sang “Happy Birthday” to the Acropolis Museum.
The Institute for Digital Archaeology hoped to scan the marbles and create an exact replica that might help settle the dispute between the London museum and Greece.
The long-term loan could “open the way for a similar agreement with an act of approval by the British Parliament,” said the Acropolis Museum’s director.
The principle that one misdeed deserves to be redressed before another, because it stems from a situation of greater violence, is wrong.
In a meeting in London, the Greek Prime Minister reiterated an offer to loan other artworks to the British institution in exchange for the priceless marbles.
President Xi Jinping, expressed his support of Greece’s request to win back the 2,500-year-old friezes after 30 years of British refusal.
If returned, the sculptures could be reunited after two centuries and settle a longstanding legal feud between Greece and the UK.
With the 200th anniversary this week of the July 11, 1816 purchase through an Act of Parliament of the Parthenon Marbles for the British Museum, members of parliament are introducing a bill that would repatriate the ancient artifacts.
In the past few decades, cultural institutions in the West have increasingly felt pressure to return artifacts acquired through questionable means during the colonial era.
In 2013, UNESCO asked the British Museum to let it mediate a deal between it and the government of Greece, which has been calling for the return of the Elgin Marbles with ever-growing fervor for the past 30 years.