CULTURE

Major display of Cypriot finds

“Cyprus: One Thousand Pieces of Memory,» an exhibition opening in early May at the Museum of Cycladic Art, will be an event of the highest importance, both for the museum and for Greece. It will be the second-largest exhibition containing exhibits from Cyprus, after the Cesnola collection at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Some of the items will be displayed in public for the first time and the opening will be connected with Cyprus’s entry into the EU. The exhibition will consist of Thanos Zintilis’s collection of antiquities, one of the greatest private collections in the world, which has been divided into two parts. The first section, comprising 710 objects, was until recently on display at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, while the second, made up of 700 objects and 200 coins, was in Nicosia. Preparations are already under way so that the museum’s entire third floor will be able to host the exhibits. It is hoped that either Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos or Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will open the exhibition, depending on their schedules. «What is important is not just the fact that the collection consists of 1,500 finds. Many of the objects are often very similar. We made a selection and chose about 1,000, which we called the ‘one thousand pieces of memory’,» said professor Nikolaos Stambolidis, director of the Museum of Cycladic Art. They are the pieces of a mosaic that covers the entirety of Cypriot civilization; objects range from the fourth millennium BC to the first Byzantine period. Among the highlights that make this exhibition unique are the cross-shaped stone statuettes. «These cannot be found either in New York or in Cyprus. The Museum of Cycladic Art is very proud to bring them to Athens.» Naturally, the move was carried out in collaboration with Zintilis and with the permission of the Board of Cypriot Antiquities in Nicosia. The exhibition will contain items made out of stone, terracotta, glass, gold, silver and bronze, and will cover the private, public and religious aspects of daily life. Items include objects of everyday use as well as symbols of power, jewelry, weapons and tools. The exhibition’s highlights include stone statuettes from the early part of the second millennium which are considered unique; their size varies from 15 to 60 centimeters. A golden necklace adorned with precious stones from late antiquity is also exquisite, and, according to Stambolidis, it is similar to what Theodora is wearing in the mosaic of Ravenna. Other highlights include vases from the early Bronze Age (depicting animals, humans and gods), a series of golden bracelets and a candelabra depicting minorahs, which are very rare. As usual, the Cycladic Art Museum will prepare a bilingual catalog containing introductory texts on Cypriot art, the categories of the finds, and 800 entries with a full description, colored photographs and observations.