Appearing on Greek public broadcaster ERT on Tuesday evening, the director of the Acropolis Museum Nikos Stampolidis dubbed the action by the British Museum of renting out spaces “offensive” commenting on the recent fashion show hosted in the Parthenon Sculptures Hall.

On whether the Marbles would finally return to Greece, Nikos Stampolidis expressed his optimism, stating: “I have said and I repeat: if I weren’t optimistic, I wouldn’t be here”.

He claimed that because the British Museum needed 1 billion sterling it sought to lease the building’s spaces, something he considered “offensive”.
He added: “I’ll tell you why. When I see people, I was not there, but when I see the images, turning their backs on aesthetics, that already is provocative. I wouldn’t do it,” Stampolidis said.

The Acropolis director spoke of “barbarity” referring to the state of the Marbles, echoing a similar phrase used by the Greek PM, Mitsotakis during his recent visit to London in November 2023 which sparked a diplomatic row between Athens and London resulting in the UK PM Rishi Sunak canceling a scheduled meeting with his Greek counterpart.

The PM had then told BBC in an interview, that “keeping the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum is artistic vandalism akin to cutting the Mona Lisa in half”.

Nikos Stampolidis continued: “If I cut off your limbs and your torso remains, that’s barbarity. Even in the best museum in the world, do you want to take them to the Metropolitan (NY)? Take them to Australia? Wherever you want to take them, with the best LED lights to illuminate them, they will never have the experiential aspect of the seasons of light, with full moon, moonless night, morning, afternoon, with the smells that each season has every time,” alluding to why the Acropolis Museum was the perfect space for the Marbles to be housed.

A recent damning report by site revealed that the Parthenon Marbles, along with Assyrian and Roman artifacts, were housed in an antiquated room on the verge of crumbling, with leaky roofs, peeling paint from the walls, problematic climate control, and cracked floor tiles.