Bill Murray backs George Clooney's call for Elgin Marbles to be returned
Comedian said Britain should 'take the lead' in returning ancient treasures
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Tuesday 11 February 2014
Comedian Bill Murray has called on the UK to “take the lead” on restoring ancient treasures to their country of origin, echoing George Clooney’s comments from the weekend that the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece.
Murray, who sat alongside Clooney at a press conference for their new film The Monuments Men, said Britain "can take the lead on this sort of thing, letting art go back to where it came from."
The film, which also stars Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett, is based on the true story of an allied squad of art experts tracking treasures looted by the Nazis in World War II. Clooney directed the movie as well as starring in it.
Referring to the 2,500-year-old Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles after Lord Elgin who brought them back from Greece 200 years ago, Murray said. "It's had a very nice stay here, but London's got crowded and there is plenty of room in Greece."
The comments followed Clooney saying over the weekend that Greece "has a good case to make" for the Marbles' return adding "It would be a very fair and nice thing to happen." The statement came during his travels around Europe promoting the film.
Clooney said yesterday that after the backlash from his statement "I did a little research to make sure I wasn't completely out of my mind".
"The Vatican returned parts of it, the Getty returned parts of it. It is a question in that case of just breaking up one piece of art, and whether one piece of art should be best put together," Clooney said. Bob Balaban and Bill Murray in 'The Monuments Men'
The Marbles have caused tension between Britain and Greece, which has called for their return. The British Museum said the objects were "part of the world's shared heritage and transcend political boundaries".
"It's an argument to say that with certain pieces that would probably be the right thing to do," Clooney said yesterday adding the Nefertiti in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston should also be returned. However the actor said he had faced criticism that as an American he had not grasped the issue.
Co-star Damon said that "can't always be the British default setting. That's not actually an argument to say: ‘Well you're American'."
The Hollywood star finished saying he would not have time to visit the British Museum to see the marbles in person. The cast is to leave after tonight's premiere for Paris, and Clooney joked he would "somehow insult the Parisians about their art. Something about a Mona Lisa and Italy."
Watch the trailer for The Monuments Men
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or prize goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Eurovision 2015: Estonia seemingly enters Louis Tomlinson from One Direction
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland