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Faces and other features now lost from Athens' Parthenon Marbles have been revealed in plaster casts taken of the sculptures back in the year 1802.
The casts were commissioned by the British aristocrat Thomas Elgin, who also made the controversial decision to transport many of the sculptures to London in 1812.
Analysis - Extent - Marbles - Spike - Century
Expert analysis has revealed not only the extent to which the real marbles have deteriorated, but also that a spike of 19th century vandalism damaged them.
Arguably the most recognisable of ancient Greek art, the marbles' original location has allowed their dating to 447–438 BC and connection to the sculptor Phidias.
Classicist - Emma - Payne - Kings - College
Classicist Emma Payne of at Kings College London compared Elgin's 19th century casts with similar ones made by in 1872 by Charles Merlin, the then British Consul at Athens, as well as to the marble friezes from the Acropolis themselves.
The Merlin casts were commissioned by the British Museum after fear that the intensive use of the Elgin casts to make further reproductions had worn the casts from 1802 out.
Marbles - Casts - Elgin - Casts - Record
With the real marbles having deteriorated since the casts were taken, Elgin's casts could still potentially represent the best-preserved three-dimensional record of the friezes — assuming they are good copies of the original.
It was this that Dr Payne had set out to determine.
'Elgin - Casts - Records - State - Sculptures
'Elgin’s casts could be important records of the state of the sculptures in the very early 19th century before modern pollution hastened their deterioration,' she said.
To investigate, she used a special three-dimensional scanner to capture both the original marbles and the 19th century casts — overlaying the resulting images to highlight any differences between the three.
'I found that,...
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