A remarkable exhibition titled ‘Return: Cycladic treasures on a return voyage” opens at the Museum of Cycladic Art in
Athens on November 3, 2022. (Photo by VASILIS REBAPIS/EUROKINISSI)
ATHENS – A remarkable exhibition titled ‘Return: Cycladic treasures on a return voyage” opens at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens on November 3, 2022 and will run through October 31, 2023. The endeavor is part of an agreement between the Greek Ministry of Culture, the museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The exhibition, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on November 2, features priceless proto-Cycladic antiquities, including 15 pieces from the Leonard Stern collection that are exhibited for the first time worldwide.
In his greetings Mitsotakis said, “we are carving out a path of repatriation for valuable parts of our cultural heritage, sending a message to states, to museums, to organizations, to collectors, that this ‘return’ – which is also the name of the exhibition – is not only morally imperative, but also technically, legally feasible.”
The Prime Minister added, “Greece now becomes the sole owner of the largest collection of antiquities that has returned to our homeland… The realistic claim of our heritage is a central political commitment of our government, which permeates all the activities of the relevant ministry.”
Referring to the temporary exhibition of the other elements of the collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET), the Prime Minister said that, “the millions of eyes that will see these largely unknown works will eventually become the best ambassadors of our culture and history… [they] will be the first to recognize that although these antiquities may be exhibited in New York, in the context of a cultural exchange, they are the property of Greece. And I imagine that the more they become familiar with the uniqueness of the Cycladic culture, the more they will want to visit the receptacle of Cycladic culture, which is none other than the Museum of Cycladic Art, but also the Aegean islands where this unique culture developed.”
In conclusion he said, “I would like to personally congratulate Lina Mendoni, the Minister of Culture, and her colleagues who completed [the agreement] quietly and efficiently.” Afterwards he was guided around the exhibition by its curator, Dr. Ioannis Fappa.
According to ANA/MAP, the exhibition is the first step in the implementation of the parliament-ratified agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and the Met for the gradual return of the entire Stern collection to Greece, while it has already become the property of the Greek state. The 15 archaeological treasures – ten figurines and five vases – cover a wide chronological spectrum that extends from the late Neolithic to the Proto-Cycladic II periods.
Mendoni, the president and managing director of the Museum of Cycladic Art Kassandra Marinopoulou, and the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Max Hollein, also spoke at the event. The Speaker of the Parliament Konstantinos Tasoulas and the Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos were also present.
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