4 Neophytou Douka St., Kolonaki, Athens 10674 Greece. Tel: 210-722-8321.
Mon-Wed-Thur-Fri: 10am-4pm, Sat:10am-3pm. Closed Sun & Tues. Fee.
There is a pleasant cafe. Please see Athens Museums walking tour map 4 for location.
Its on Museum Row (Vas. Sophias Ave. just off Syntagma Sq.)
Tip: If you'd like more Cycladic Art, the National Archeology Museum is the place to go
I don't know about you but Cycladic Art is my favorite kind of Greek art. Being known as Cycladic Art means that you were made in the Aegean Sea, in the Cyclades islands of which there are approximately 58 last count.
Some mystery too surrounds the origin of the people who crafted these figurines, as avatars perhaps? They were, for some unknown purpose, routinely smashed by the culture that made them. Perhaps it was a form of central accounting for the slave trade or maybe it was part of a spiritual census and a means of recording human births and deaths? The museum's words photo above - click to read.
Some suppose that Cycladic settlements such as Milos, Santorini and Paros to be Minoan Cretan colonies or outposts. Other feel they were made by the original Pelasgians - those mysterious souls who dwelt in the Aegean Pelagos before the Dorian invasion as Minyans perhaps? Some few even suggest that the eruption of the volcano at Santorini 1700 BC was actually the sinking of Atlantis. That would make these little marble sculptures Atlantean art! Cant prove it by me, but Cycladic is still my favorite kind of Greek Art! Its free of lables and pretensiousness and reminds me a little but of Easter island too. Another island dwelling people (they screwed up big time)
In 1884, German archeologist Ulrich Kohler unearthed two small female fetishes on a small inconsequential 12 sq km island in the lesser Cyclades mini group Naxos and Amorgos called Kreops and its here that many, many such small human figurines are found broken in the earth.
The museum stores and displays over 20 centuries of differing styles of Greek art from various parts of Greece but its center pieces are the Cycladic collection of figurines from the Greek islands 3,200 BC-2,000 BC.
The museum is juxtaposed in three dimensional space by two glaringly different adjacent buildings. The elder and quite beautiful Stathatos Mansion, designed by Ernst Ziller is pictured below center and is my favorite way to enter the museum. Ernst had a sense of proportion and style that is classic for its period and you'll see his work crop up again and again in Greece!