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Maggie May

I have to admit that it always catches me off guard when Dr. Jones is describing a work and then states that it’s now in a place far, far from that origin. For example, in this unit she mentioned several pieces from Ancient Greece are now located in Munich, Germany.
It’s such a complex issue. I understand removing pieces from areas near their origin when those areas are immersed in conflict and battle, as discussed in previous units, but I maintain that it is paramount to the holistic integrity of those pieces that we do the best we can to fully understand the culture that they came from and continue to appreciate them through that lens. The context which the piece was created in is nearly as important as the piece itself when studying and attempting to understand a work,and it can be difficult to fully comprehend those details when a piece is so detached from it’s origin.
It’s a fine balance between removing art to preserve it and leaving it in place to understand it.
I think if possible, we must allow art to remain in it’s area and culture of origin. It is highly unethical to remove and retain art from a society or culture without the continued permission of that society or culture. Of course, this is a complex matter of international politics.
While I don’t believe that modern descendants far, far detached from the origin of a piece (like say, if we were to give the rights to an ancient Greek piece to a modern descendant) should have legal or financial rights to determine if the piece is displayed or not, I believe that we should allow art to remain in context and in culture when possible. After a certain amount of time, art should become public property (with appropriate credit and understanding given) and be displayed for all to learn from. We must study the art of other cultures in full and rich context in order to fully understand them, and to do that we must first have access to that art when appropriate.