Τhe Museum of Cycladic Art (MCA) has opened an online tour of its landmark exhibition “Cycladic Society: 5,000 Years Ago,” which was originally presented at the famed Greek museum in 2016 as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. The now-web-based exhibition explores Cycladic civilization during the Early Bronze Age (3200-2000 BC). Extensive texts are accompanied by maps, timelines, impressive photographs of the islands and their artifacts and excerpts from the exhibition catalogue, which can also be purchased electronically.
Here you will catch a glimpse of the breathtaking natural environment; formative Cycladic settlements; and activities of the island inhabitants, including art, craft techniques, spinning, weaving, the use of pigments to provide color, pottery, shipbuilding, marble carving and social life, as well as beliefs and cults. There is also a section on the “master craftsmen” who produced the Cyclades’ magnificent white-marble figurines.
Enhancing this virtual experience is an introductory video (Greek, with English subtitles), narrated by MCA director Prof. Nikolaos Stampolidis. We glide through now-barren museum galleries, where our guide eloquently observes: “All that we don’t know is darkness… Glass showcases with exhibited artifacts manifest themselves like windows opening towards the Aegean light and the light of knowledge.”
Stampolidis’ commentary and deep personal appreciation for his subject is one of the exhibit’s most refreshing features. For the social life section, he describes “figurines from different places, islands and regions, coming together and joining each other as in an ancient local feast. The musicians – the flute player and the harpist, the drinkers, but also the dancers and, of course, the observers. An entire society that knows how to celebrate, within the trilogy of ancient Greek civilization; that is, the unity of nature, man and God.”
Visitors to the online exhibition are also given links to an eclectic collection of many more artistic, historical and archaeological videos. Here again, one of the most evocative is a poetic video essay on Cycladic society written and narrated by Stampolidis, which begins: “When the universe was still formless and Chaos reigned over all, into the swirling vortex winged Eros flew…”
This inspiring virtual tour, not to be missed, is available in English here.