The Museum of Cycladic Art houses one of the most complete private collections of Cycladic art worldwide, with representative examples of figurines and vases, tools, weapons, and pottery from all phases of the distinctive Cycladic island culture that flourished in the central Aegean during the Early Bronze Age (third millennium BC).
Marble carving is the most characteristic product of Cycladic culture, and the abstract forms of its figurines have influenced several twentieth and twenty-first century artists, such as Constantin Brancusi, Amedeo Modigliani, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Ai Weiwei.
Although Cycladic marble figurines and vases appeal to the modern viewer for their almost translucent whiteness, their creators loved colour and used it liberally on these objects for both practical and symbolic reasons.
The Cycladic Art Collection is set on the first floor of the building of the permanent collections and opened in 1986. It includes a large number of high quality marble figurines and vases, some of the earliest bronze objects in the Aegean pottery everyday and ritual use, etc. most of which are placed in the 3rd millennium BC
IT ALSO INCLUDES
| Highly sculptured marble bottles, plates, cups and zoomorphic vessels,
| Marble standards,
| Metal objects, such as bronze tools and weapons, leaden figurines and a small silver vessel,
| Symbolic objects such as frying vessels, which are decorated with incised motifs reminiscent of the sea, the stars and female fertility,
| The so-called "Treasure of Keros".
One of the most important objects exposed here is the NG 724 female figurine Early Cycladic II period, with a height of 1.40 meters. This makes it the second largest in the world and known as "Vase Pigeon" (NG 329), held also prominently in the report, is the largest and most complete example poppet plate sculpted birds have been found to date.
Marble figurines are the most elegant creations of Cycladic art. They usually represent nude female figures with the arms folded above the abdomen, slightly flexed knees and a barely uplifted backward-slanting head. This type has been dubbed “canonical” by specialist scholars, because it accounts for the overwhelming majority of figurines sculpted in the Early Cycladic II period (2800-2300 BC), when Cycladic art was at its zenith. The “canonical” type subsumes several varieties, which have been named conventionally after the find-spot where they were first identified. Some early figurines, on which the above traits are not fully developed, are called “pre- canonical”, while a series of late figurines with degenerated characteristics are referred to as “post-canonical”.
In addition to these rather “naturalistic” creations there are several examples in which the female figure is represented in a highly schematic manner. The best-known among them is the “violin-shaped” type, thus called for obvious reasons.
The male figure is rarely represented in Cycladic art, primarily in the form of musicians or warriors and only exceptionally in the standing “canonical” type.
Last, a small number of unusual examples represent groups of figures.
The provenance of most Cycladic figurines is unknown, since they have been unearthed by illicit diggers. The majority of those recovered through systematic archaeological excavations come from graves, which has led many scholars to interpret them as objects of religious or ritual use. However, the fact that only a small number of Cycladic graves contained such figurines, in combination with the discovery of some figurines in settlements or other non-funerary contexts suggest that their function may have been more complex and varied.
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION
INTERNATIONAL SIGN LANGUAGE
| Bach F.T. 2006: Shaping the Beginning. Modern Artists and the ancient Eastern Mediterranean (Athens)
| Barber R.L.N. 1987: The Cyclades in the Bronze Age (London)
| Bassiakos Y. – Doumas Chr. 1998: “The island of Keros and its enigmatic role in the Aegean EBA: a geoarchaeological approach”, in Αργυρίτις Γη. Χαριστήριον στον Κωνσταντίνο Η. Κονοφάγο (Athens), 55-64
| Broodbank C. 2000: An Island Archaeology of the Early Cyclades (Cambridge)
| Chryssovitsanou V. 2002: “Les statuettes cycladiques et l’ art modern”, in Mythos. La préhistoire Égeene du XIXe au XXIe siècle après J.-C. Table ronde internationale, 21-23 Novembre 2002 (Athens), 1-10
| Doumas Chr. 1977: Early Bronze Age Burial Habits in the Cyclades (SIMA XLVIII) (Göteborg)
| Doumas Chr. 1990: "Metallurgy", in Marangou L. (ed.), Cycladic Civilization; Naxos in the 3rd Millennium BC (Athens), 161-162
| Doumas Chr. 2000: Early Cycladic Culture. The N.P. Goulandris Collection (Athens)
| Fitton J.L. 1989: Cycladic Art (London)
| Gale N.H. – Stos Gale Z.A. 1984: “Cycladic metallurgy”, in MacGillivray J.A. - Barber R.L.N. (ed.), The Prehistoric Cyclades (Edinburgh), 255-276
| Getz-Preziosi P. 1977: “Cycladic sculptors and their methods”, in Thimme J. (ed.), Art and Culture of the Cyclades. Handbook of an Ancient Civilization (Karlsruhe), 71-91
| Getz-Preziosi P. 1980: “The male figure in Early Cycladic sculpture”, Metropolitan Museum Journal 15, 5-33
| Getz-Preziosi P. 1981: “Risk and repair in Early Cycladic sculpture”, Metropolitan Museum Journal 16, 5-32| Getz-Preziosi P. 1983: “The ‘Keros Hoard’: introduction to an Early Cycladic enigma”, in Metzler D. – Otto B. – Müller-Wirth Ch. (ed.), Antidoron. Festschrift für Jürgen Thimme zum 65. Geburstag am 26. September 1982 (Karlsruhe), 37-44
| Getz-Preziosi P. 1985: Early Cycladic Sculpture. An Introduction (Malibu, California)
| Getz-Preziosi P. 1987: Sculptors of the Cyclades: Individuals and Tradition in the Third Millennium BC (Michigan)
| Gill D.W.J. – Chippindale Chr. 1993: “Material and intellectual consequences of esteem for Cycladic figures”, American Journal of Archaeology 97, 601-659
| Höckmann O. 1977: “Cycladic religion”, in Thimme J. (ed.), Art and Culture of the Cyclades. Handbook of an Ancient Civilization (Karlsruhe), 37-52
| Labrinoudakis V. 1990: “Religion”, in Marangou L. (ed.), Cycladic Civilization; Naxos in the 3rd Millennium BC (Athens), 99-104
| Maniatis Y. – Sotirakopoulou P. – Polikreti K. – Dotsika E. – Tzavidopoulos E. (2009): “The ‘Keros Hoard’: provenance of marbles and their possible sources, in ASMOSIA VII. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference, Thassos, Greece, 15-20 September 2003 (Athens), 413-437
| McGeehan-Liritzis V. 1996: The Role and Development of Metallurgy in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of Greece (SIMA Pocketbook 122) (Jonsered)
| Oustinoff E. 1984: “The manufacture of Cycladic figurines: a preactical approach”, in Fitton J.L. (ed.), Cycladica. Studies in Memory of N.P. Goulandris. Proceedings of the Seventh British Museum Classical Colloquium, June 1983 (London), 38-47
| Oustinoff E. 1987: “The Early Cycladic sculptor: materials and methods”, in Getz-Preziosi P., Early Cycladic Art in North American Collections (Richmond), 90-102
| Papathanasopoulos G.A. 1981: Neolithic and Cycladic Civilization; National Archaeological Museum (Athens)
| Renfrew C. – Doumas Chr. – Marangou L. – Gavalas G. (2007): Keros, Dhaskalio Kavos: Volume I. The investigations of 1987-1988 (Cambridge)
| Renfrew C. 1967: “Cycladic metallurgy and the Aegean Early Bronze Age”, American Journal of Archaeology 71, 1-20
| Renfrew C. 1969: “The development and chronology of the Early Cycladic figurines”, American Journal of Archaeology 73, 1-32
| Renfrew C. 1972: The Emergence of Civilization. The Cyclades and the Aegean in the Third Millennium BC (London)
| Renfrew C. 1984: “Speculations on the use of Early Cycladic sculpture”, in Fitton J.L. (ed.) Cycladica. Studies in Memory of N.P. Goulandris. Proceedings of the Seventh British Museum Classical Colloquium, June 1983 (London), 24-30
| Renfrew C. 1991: The Cycladic Spirit. Masterpieces from the N.P. Goulandris Collection (Athens)
| Rubin W. (ed.) 1984: ‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art. Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern (New York)
| Sotirakopoulou P. 2005: The “Keros Hoard”. Myth or Reality? Searching for the lost pieces of a Puzzle (Athens)
| Stos-Gale Z.A. – Gale N.H. 2003: “Lead isotopic and other isotopic research in the Aegean”, in Forster K.P. – Laffineur R. (ed.), Metron. Measuring the Aegean Bronze Age. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference, New Haven, Yale University, 18-21 April 2002 (Aegaeum 24), 83-100
| Stos-Gale Z.A. 1989: “Cycladic copper metallurgy”, in Hauptman A. – Pernicka E. - Wagner G.A. (ed.), Old World Archaeometallurgy (Die Anschnitt, Beiheft 7) (Bochum), 279-292
| Thimme J. (ed.) 1976: Kunst und Kultur der Kykladeninseln im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr. (Karlsruhe)
| Tolis M. – Karabatea M. 1999: The human form in Cycladic Art (Athens)
Please rotate your device to portrait view.