Camille Mauclair

camillemauclairThe difficulty to regard what is left of the Parthenon Frieze brings to mind the deepest of disappointment I felt in London. How eagerly I had entered the hall of the British Museum to admire Elgin’s looted lot! And I found myself in a space that resembled a market or customhouse, painted in horrendous red colour, a fridge for masterpieces, dark, narrow, desperate! The noblest of marbles gave the impression of dusty casts. The originals could not be distinguished from the replicas. […] I studied each one of these works of art trying to isolate them from their environment. But to no avail! They failed to move me […] I felt like I was in a marble workshop, in a storage area full of confiscated items, where amputated ghosts, held hostage, longed for the sky of their homeland. Indeed, to accomplish this pitiful result, an ambitious and greedy Englishman had laboured so and had managed to associate himself with the image of a thief gaining the contempt of artists. Each masterpiece snatched from its place of origin is in some way in exile. But nowhere other than in London did I feel such intense and offensive ridicule.

Camille Mauclair


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