Elgin's marble casts

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Witness
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Elgin's marble casts

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Elgin's casts of Parthenon marbles reveal details since lost from statues

Findings could shine fresh light on some of the most celebrated monuments in classical art

As the man who removed many of the Parthenon marbles in circumstances that are still disputed, Lord Elgin’s association with the famous sculptures remains controversial, to say the least.

But the British aristocrat’s work at the site in the early 19th century was not merely acquisitive. As well as taking away about half of the surviving sculptures before eventually selling them to the British Museum, Elgin also employed specialist craftsmen to create detailed plaster casts of many of the artworks that he left behind on the great Athens monument.

Now analysis of those casts has revealed details that have since been lost on the original sculptures, casting fresh light on an almost forgotten technique that could reveal further insights about some of the most celebrated monuments in classical art.

Research by Dr Emma Payne, a specialist in classics and archaeological conservation based at King’s College London, shows that in 1802, when Elgin’s men made their casts, the sculptures of the west frieze of the Parthenon were in markedly better condition than they are today.

“Elgin’s casts could be important records of the state of the sculptures in the very early 19th century before modern pollution would hasten their deterioration,” said Payne.

Image
3D models of a figure from the west frieze, coloured to highlight changes in surface texture. Top: Elgin cast, 1802. Middle: Merlin cast, 1872. Bottom: original sculpture. Photograph: Emma Payne/Antiquity

Image
3D model of a figure from the north frieze (original on the left, Elgin cast on the right). Photograph: Emma Payne/Antiquity
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesig ... ls-statues for the rest.
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

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Who woulda' thunk it a full size pagan temple in the Bible belt. It's really, seriously worth a visit. Oh and Elvis and Athena seem to get along.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenon_(Nashville)
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

Why the Greeks hate the British.

Fun fact: When Winston Churchill opined that "the natives need a strong hand" he was referring to the Greeks. :)
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

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The eternal question: leave in situ or save it somewhere? :|
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

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There are no more ancient greeks. The stuff does not belong to the idiots that are there now. It is not theirs to destroy.
:x
Read this

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Re: Elgin's marble casts

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

Right.

It belongs to the British. Because they can.

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Normandy 1944

The natives need a strong hand.
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

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Or us
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

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ed wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:46 pm There are no more ancient greeks. The stuff does not belong to the idiots that are there now. It is not theirs to destroy.
:x
Read this

Tags help sometimes, ed:

Image

That being said, I agree with you (as somebody quipped, the most beautiful ruin in Greece is the Greek people). Up to one point: environment.
In the shade, leaning against the columns of a small reddish Greek temple overlooking the overly green reeds where, surprise, the Meander meandered under the sun, I wouldn't have wanted being anywhere else, it was gorgeous.

And thanks for the reference.

Hey, I just got a "Post review" option. That a new feature? Is Pyrrho working his ass off here instead of having fun with his colleagues? :?
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

Post by ed »

Witness wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:09 pm
ed wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:46 pm
Tags help sometimes, ed:
Huh?


but yeah, I saw a piece somewhere that compared the caryatids ca. 1900 to today. They melted.

The other argument for keeping them where they are is the prevalence of strikes in Greece. Not sure how bad or how frequent but I have read that sites can be closed down and access in London is assured.

And how many divisions go the greeks have anyway? :x
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

Post by Fid »

Perhaps this deserves its own thread but... classical sculptural dicks.

Yeah they stick out and are likely the first to be damaged in times of trouble.

But damn why no discussion in august art about the loss of our boys?
... The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light ... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

According to the Iliad, the Greeks soldiers got drunk one night and went around breaking the dicks off statues of Hermes.

Guess which Olympian made sure they had a hard time after that? :)
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

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Abdul Alhazred wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:09 pm According to the Iliad, the Greeks soldiers got drunk one night and went around breaking the dicks off statues of Hermes.

Guess which Olympian made sure they had a hard time after that? :)
I don't remember that part, but there is a similar story in Thucydides, from just before the expedition to Sicily:
In the meantime the Mercuries of stone throughout the whole city of Athens (now there were many of these of square stone set up by the law of the place, and many in the porches of private houses and in the temples) had in one night most of them their faces pared. [2] And no man knew who had done it; and yet great rewards out of the treasury had been propounded to the discoverers, and a decree made that if any man knew of any other profanation, he might boldly declare the same, were he citizen, stranger, or bondman. [3] And they took the fact exceedingly to heart as ominous to the expedition and done withal upon conspiracy for alteration of the state and dissolution of the democracy.
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... g=original

The "Mercuries of stone", in that dubious translation, are hermae, which not necessarily represent Hermes:

Image
Herma of Demosthenes from the Athenian Agora, work by Polyeuktos, c. 280 BC, Glyptothek
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herma

The head and the dick, man's important parts. So evidently it's not only the faces which were "pared". :mrgreen:
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Re: Elgin's marble casts

Post by Fid »

Well I did have the property surveyed and drew a dick and balls on each wooden stake.

The good 'ole boys doing the work after dealing with poison ivy and a few species of snakes were not really interested how this whole thing is in fact related to the Roman Empire.
... The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light ... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.
Carl Sagan