Museum of Cycladic Art Athens
A child holding a hare. Photograph: Why Athens | Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art

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The Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens showcases a fascinating collection gathered by the late shipping magnate Nicholas Goulandris and his wife Dolly. Expanding over four levels, the artworks give real insight into the ancient civilisations of the Cycladic Islands.

The remnants of these ancient societies from 3200-2000BC, gives telling information on how ancient Greeks lived and is brought to life with the permanent audio-visual installation called Scenes from Daily Life in Antiquity, a big hit with kids. 

The real attractions of course are the Cycladic figurines found on the first floor. Their semi-abstract depictions of the human body inspired Cubist art and 20th century artists like Picasso and Brancusi.

Museum of Cycladic Art Athens

Depictions of the human body during the Cycladic Period. Photograph: Why Athens | Museum of Cycladic Art

Two buildings house both the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions and are joined by a portico. Architecturally, they are in direct contrast to each other, with the first being built in 1986 and the second, which was acquired in 1991, is a neoclassical building built by the renowned architect Ernst Ziller.

Why Athens Tip: The Benaki, Byzantine and War Museums are all within walking distance.