The British Museum has allowed part of the Elgin Marbles to leave London for the first time ever as it lends a sculpture to Russia’s Hermitage museum.
The headless statue of a Greek river-god will be unveiled in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg on Friday as part of the celebrations for the Hermitage’s 250th anniversary.
Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, told The Times: “The politics of both museums have been that the more chilly the politics between governments the more important the relationship between museums.”
The loan to Russia was finally approved only 15 days ago, though the initial decision was made back in October. The figure of the god Ilissos will go on public display at the Hermitage till January 18.