A selection of Cycladic treasures

The Museum of Cycladic Art has issued a new guidebook on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. Rather than presenting an overwhelming and all-inclusive tome, the archaeologists-curators of the museum were asked to select what they saw as representative objects of its permanent collection, accompanied by succinct descriptions. The visitor buying the conveniently sized book is provided with an easy way to recall or become familiar with both the way the antiquities are laid out and with the chronology and contexts of the pieces. With clear, color images of objects from the Cycladic, Ancient Greek and Cypriot collections, elucidated by readable descriptions, the guidebook, like the museum itself, presents the various eras and art of the period in a manageable, distilled way. The guidebook also explains the museum’s increasingly important role, through its temporary exhibits, of highlighting the influence of Cycladic art on modern artists. A text definitely meant to be used and read rather than relegated to the coffee table, the guide narrates the development of the museum from the 1986 opening of the private collection of Dolly and Nicholas Goulandris as it grew to a collection encompassing temporary modern exhibits, different eras of Greek antiquity, research and multiple educational programs. At the heart of the museum, however, is the ever-intriguing and mysterious Cycladic era, its marble figurines consistently, as the guidebook attests, «opening the way for an ongoing and productive dialogue between the ancient and the modern, the past and the present.» «Museum of Cycladic Art: A Brief Guide» is on sale at the museum gift shop (4 Neophytou Douka, Kolonaki, tel 210.722.8321) in both a Greek and an English version, for 15 euros.

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