‘And so this is Christmas and what have we done?’ Have we been friends of
the earth and enemies of the people; open to change and closed to knowledge;
fighting for peace and appeasing terror? Tu se’ pagliaccio!
The squabbles over the Elgin marbles continue. There are many arguments pro
and con; some ingenious, some tosh. Legally, you can paraphrase Mr Gutman
from the ‘Maltese Falcon’ and say clear title rests with Pheidias, so how
can another claim prevail except by right of possession?
The only edifying aspect to squabbles over title is that it reveals a hitherto latent love of art in the hearts and minds of bureaucrats or brigands. We know that the Nazis were outstanding art thieves, but then, so was Castro, and US exiled artists still can’t get their confiscated work back, despite the new paradigm. If the creator has not sold her/his work nor produced it on commission or via patronage, they own it. Don’t they?