Cycladic Art Museum

Federico Tibytt

New installations highlight the traditions of this ancient culture.

The Museum of Cycladic Art Bookstore


The Cycladic Art Museum opened in 1986 in the heart of Athens, the Greek capital. It houses one of the world’s most important art collections of the Cycladic period. Recently, the museum added a coffee shop and a boutique where visitors can purchase gifts that bring to life the traditions and aesthetics of this ancient culture from a contemporary and exquisite perspective.

The Cycladic culture flourished in the islands of the central
Aegean during the Early Bronze Age (around the 3rd millennium BC). Their advantageous geographical position—between Asia and Europe— allowed the local cultures to absorb all kinds of influences from sailors that passed through their territory on their transcontinental trips. This contact with foreign traditions made possible the birth of a very productive society, which is famous today for their beautiful jewelry and sculptures carved in white marble.

Most of the archeological remains of this culture dating from the Copper Age and the Bronze Age are housed in the
Cycladic Art Museum, which hosts the largest collection in the world (after the National Archaeological Museum) of sculptures, tools, jewelry and relics of that civilization.

Above: Coffee Shop
Below: Cycladic jewelry and sculpture

The museum was inaugurated on January 26, 1986, when art patron Dolly Goulandris donated her valuable family collection and created, in turn, the Goulandris Foundation, which is dedicated to the study of ancient civilizations in the Aegean Sea and the conservation of prehistoric and classical art from all over the Greek territory.

Since its foundation, the museum has grown considerably thanks to regular donations from collectors. Currently, it offers an invaluable permanent exhibition and various temporary shows. Between February and November 2016 the museum featured an exhibit called
Inside the Old Workshops, which recreated the working conditions of the ancient artists and craftspeople and showcased the techniques, tools and materials used over 5,000 years ago.

The refurbishment carried out by the renowned firm of architects Kois Associated Architects has generated keen interest in the museum. The architectural firm was entrusted with the redesign of the coffee and gift shop to recreate, in the center of Athens, the feeling of being in the Cyclades Islands.

The new store has a neat design featuring walnut furniture, flooring, and paneling, combined with white walls and glass panels that display unique pieces made with the techniques used by these ancient peoples for carving and jewelry.

Lunch at the Cycladic Café

Meanwhile, the new Cycladic Café offers a courtyard decorated with elegant wooden furniture and imposing white marble benches under a decorative ceiling that filters the sunlight. This cafe also offers breakfast and lunch made with fresh produce from the Cyclades, whose dishes recreate the flavors and aromas typical of the cuisine of the islands.

Be sure to visit the fascinating Museum of Cycladic Art on your next trip to ancient Athens.

© | 2019