The actor George Clooney has called for the UK to return the Elgin Marbles to their place of origin, Greece, in a letter to a group of scholars, professors, and cultural figures.
Addressing Janet Suzman, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Clooney expressed his conviction that the marbles must be returned, reports Greek newspaper Ta Nea, according to the .
“There are indeed many objects of historical value that must be returned to their original owners,” Clooney is quoted as telling Suzman. “However, none of them is as important as the Marbles of the Parthenon.”
Clooney was referring to the sculptures by their original site at the Parthenon, in Athens, rather than by the name of Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin, who removed the sculptures and sold them to the British government two centuries ago. They have long resided at the British Museum and have been customarily referred to as the Elgin Marbles.
“The Parthenon Sculptures must be returned to their original owner,” he said.
Clooney has come out expressing confidence about the future restitution of the works before. “This piece of art has been split in half and at some point they will be joined back together,” he told the Greek Reporter in 2015.
At that time, Clooney’s wife, Anglo-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, was advising the Greek government on its efforts to reclaim the marbles. The Greek government ended up turning down her suggestion to take the British to the International Court.
Some have called for the repatriation of the sculptures for more than 40 years. British officials have argued that Athens cannot sufficiently display the treasures. The Greeks have since built a world-class exhibition space in view of the Acropolis for that purpose.
Clooney directed and starred in the 2014 film , about a group of Allied experts tasked with saving artworks and other cultural treasures from destruction or theft by the Nazis during World War II.