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A matter of considerable controversy at present is the issue of whether works of art should remain in their country of origin, or rather the owners of such works should be allowed to sell them to collectors abroad, thus depriving the country's population of a vital part of its cultural heritage. Strong arguments exist in support of both sides of this debate, which implies that it is worth examining both points of view before reaching any conclusions.

Should such sales be permitted, it is argued that the country of origin would lose pieces of art which rightfully belong where they were created. In addition, works of art which were created to be viewed in a certain setting, or as part of a particular structure, lose a great deal of their artistic impact when removed from this context. Venus de Milo, an ancient statue of Aphrodite is a clear case in point: this conspicuous example of the Hellenistic sculptural tradition, carved in 150 BC and found on the Aegean island of Melos in 1820, is now decorating nothing more inspiring than a room at the Louvre Museum in Paris ...

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