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Lord Elgin and the Marbles$
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William St. Clair

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780192880536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192880536.001.0001

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Artists and Dilettanti

Artists and Dilettanti

(p.162) 15 Artists and Dilettanti
Lord Elgin and the Marbles

William St. Clair

Oxford University Press

The first collection of Elgin marbles which were kept in a shed behind Piccadilly was unpacked by June 1807, and it was all set for display. As several prominent sculptures, artists, and enthusiasts were allowed to view the collection and draw inspiration for drawings, Elgin's original goal of improving the arts in Great Britain was revived. John Flaxman, one of the first sculptors to see the exhibit, was responsible for such works as the Medici Venus, the Apollo, and other copies of the Greek originals which can be seen in Italy. These works are believed to portray the peak of artistic achievement. Fundamentally, these works brought about several developments in the world of art, such as the theory of ‘Ideal Beauty’ which deals mainly with technique and form.

Keywords:   Elgin marbles, Great Britain, art, John Flaxman, technique, form, Ideal Beauty, artistic achievement

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