Riace Bronzes Will Not Go to EXPO 15

The Riace Bronzes
Photo: Itsa Llgreek via All Things Greek

After a heated debate, Italy’s celebrated Riace Bronzes will stay in Calabria, Le Monde reports. Organizers of Milan’s forthcoming universal exposition, EXPO 2015, which will start in May 2015, had requested to borrow the Greek warriors. But the sculptures have been deemed too fragile to travel (see “Italy Risks Priceless Riace Bronzes for Cash”). The experts, who gathered on October 8, also claimed that the Milan exhibition had no scientific nor cultural standing, and thus wasn’t worth the risk.

Discovered by chance by a diver in 1972, the two-meter-high Greek ephebes are the star exhibits of the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia, where they are displayed in a climate-controlled space and on a special pedestal designed to absorb seismic movements. Only 20 visitors are allowed in at a time, and must first pass through an airlock.

EXPO 2015’s request attracted much controversy. President of the Lombardy region (of which Milan is the Capital) Roberto Maroni and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi─who is organizing EXPO 2015 and had planned to showcase the sculptures in a special pavilion─claimed that the fragility of the Riace Bronzes had been overstated in an attempt to keep them (and the revenue they generate) in Calabria.

According to Le Monde, Calabrian politicians counterattacked by arguing that the maneuverer was designed to highlight Southern Italy’s inability to exploit the full potential of its archaeological treasures. Since their discovery, only 120,000 people have seen the Riace bronzes. Considering the crowds attracted by every universal exposition, a trip to Milan could have more than doubled this modest number in just a few months.

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