A Mysterious Detour That The Parthenon Sculpture Took!
It is not unheard of, nor is it an unusual occurrence when one art institution loans out an extraordinary piece of art or heritage to another institution of repute as a gesture of goodwill and to the delight of art lovers. Hence, when the British Museum in London loaned out a sculpture from Parthenon to the State Hermitage Museum, it shouldn’t have been more prominent than any other such collaborations. This iconic Russian institution was on its 250th birthday in late 2014 and what made the event special was the fear that Greece might intercept the same to seize this statue en route to St. Petersburg.
The sculpture was meant to be showcased in the Hermitage from 6 December 2014 – 18 January 2015, and it was until the unveiling that the whole business remained under a shroud of mystery. The route that the sculpture took was especially designed to avoid going through the European Union Territory as a precautionary measure.
The director at the Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovsky has actually made a statement where he confirms that the path taken to fly the sculpture from London to St. Petersburg was quite a winding one, as a cautionary measure to prevent any attempts of interception. The Greek believe this sculpture to be their property and could have attempted to seize it if the flight were to land on any of the airports in the European Union. Interestingly as per their law, it would have been perfectly within the law, says Piotrovsky.
The real route taken by the sculpture, however, is still a mystery and hasn’t been revealed even now. When confronted and asked whether the sculpture travelled via the Arctic or over North Africa, Piotrovsky declined to make any comments. A spokeswoman for the British Museum has provided an official statement that claims the museum has a practice of taking only the most direct route to transport any work of art, and this practice was followed even in the case of this particular sculpture when it travelled to the Hermitage.
The relationship between Russia and Greece seem to have recovered since then. In March, a statue that was found near the Parthenon, which now is under the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece was lent to the Hermitage. As a returning gesture, the Hermitage also lent out the three pieces of Scythian Gold that was found in the eastern part of Crimea.