The exhibition “Homecoming. Cycladic treasures on their return journey” is presented by the Museum of Cycladic Art in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and is the first step of the historic agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Museum of Cycladic Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (The Met), which was ratified by the Greek Parliament on September 9, 2022. The agreement foresees the gradual return to Greece of 161 Early Cycladic antiquities of unique archaeological value of the American collector Leonard Stern. 15 of these antiquities are presented for the first time internationally, in Athens, at the Museum of Cycladic Art. Following this, the entire collection will be exhibited at The Met, before the final return of the entirety of these antiquities to Greece, their country of origin.
The exhibition “Homecoming. Cycladic treasures on their return journey” opened yesterday to celebrate the homecoming of these first 15 antiquities and will last until October 31, 2023. The exhibition presents rare exhibits which will bring new scientific knowledge to Early Cycladic art. Among them, there are types that could be described as unique, either as a whole or in their individual morphological characteristics, as they have not appeared before in the corpus of the known works of Early Cycladic culture.
9. Paris Tavitian © Museum of Cycladic Art
The antiquities presented –ten marble figurines and five vases made of marble, steatite and clay– cover a wide chronological range, from the times of the Late Neolithic period to those of the Early Cycladic II period (c. 5300 – 2400/2300 BC). The figurines depict solely the female figure and belong to types and varieties corresponding to the styles of each period (schematic, precanonical, canonical), while the vases represent some of the most characteristic types of vessels covering the entire Early Cycladic period.
As stated by the President and CEO of the Museum of Cycladic Art, Kassandra Marinopoulou: “An exceptional and largely unknown collection of Cycladic antiquities by the American collector Leonard N. Stern, with rare and unique artefacts progressively makes its way back home. This is a historic moment for our country, for the Museum of Cycladic Art, but also for me personally, as we are participating in an unprecedented collaboration with the Greek State and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, contributing, thus, to the return of 161 Cycladic masterpieces and paving the way for the return of other antiquities in the future. We strongly believe that collaborations between museums is the only way forward.”
11. Paris Tavitian © Museum of Cycladic Art
As stated by the Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Max Hollein:
“The mission of The Met is to enable art to be enjoyed and studied. We are thrilled to celebrate this important milestone in the historic partnership with Greece that brings an important collection of Cycladic antiquities into the public sphere permanently and for the first time. This agreement builds on years of a fruitful partnership between the Greek government and The Met, and we are delighted to be able to play a role in an arrangement that will benefit visitors and scholars for generations to come. We are deeply grateful to Leonard N. Stern for dedicating funds to The Met for the study of these exceptional works and related archival material—which will allow us to thoroughly catalogue and publish the collection—and we are excited to present the entire group of 161 objects as a long-term loan in 2024. The Met extends special thanks to Greece and the Museum of Cycladic Art for our strong partnership and for authorizing this historic loan, and we look forward to continuing our ongoing conversations about future exchanges of scholarship and expertise. We all benefit from the public display of art.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual scientific catalogue, which includes an introductory text on the Early Cycladic culture of the 3rd millennium BC, as well as a detailed and documented presentation of the 15 Early Cycladic antiquities, along with unique photographs of the exhibits themselves and of the Cycladic landscape.
Memorandum of Understanding among the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, the Museum of Cycladic Art and The Met, about the promotion of research and study of Cycladic Culture
As part of the abovementioned agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the 2nd of November, with subject the advancement of the study and research of Early Cycladic Culture. The MOU was signed in Athens, by the Minister of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Lina Mendoni, the President and CEO of the Museum of Cycladic Art, Ms. Kassandra Marinopoulou and the Director of The Met, Mr. Max Hollein.
Exhibition duration: November 3, 2022 to October 31, 2023