The Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with special emphasis on Cycladic Art of the 3rd millennium BC.
It was founded in 1986, to house the collection of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris. Since then it has grown in size to accommodate new acquisitions, obtained either through direct purchases or through donations by important collectors and institutions.
Today, in the galleries of the MCA the visitor can approach three major subjects:
- the Cycladic Culture of the Early Bronze Age ( 3200 – 2000 BC)
- the Ancient Greek Art, from the Bronze Age to Late Roman times (2nd millenium BC – 4th century AD)
- the Cypriot Culture from the Chalcolithic Age to the Early Christian period (4th millenium BC – 6th century AD)
The MCA is housed in two separate buildings, which are connected by a glass-roofed corridor: the Main Building, housing the permanent collections and the New Wing, and the Stathatos Mansion, housing the temporary exhibitions.
at 4 Neophytou Douka str., was built in 1985 by the architect Ioannis Vikelas to house the permanent collections of the MCA.
Ιts façade combines marble and glass, conveying the sense of austerity and the diffusion of refracted light that predominate in the Cycladic landscape. The interior is distinguished by simple lines and a modern aesthetic, as well as the use of materials encountered in the Cyclades, such as marble and granite. The builidng has 4 floors with galleries, occupying in total approximately 2,300 sq. m., storerooms, workshops, and offices
From the entrance, the visitor can approach the museum shop (extending into the basement) and the atrium, where the museum cafe is situated.
From the atrium, a corridor leads to the Stathatos Mansion. On the ground floor, the visitor comes across introductory wall texts with useful information about Cycladic art.
Next to the main entrance, the visitor can approach the New Wing of the MCA. The New Wing, which opened to the public in late 2005 and added another 500 sq. m. to the museum, has multiple functions: it houses the Department of Educational Programmes and several educational activities; it provides a space for lectures and seminars; it houses temporary exhibitions.
The New Wing has been organized efficiently into separate rooms, all equipped with modern technological devices which can be used for different purposes, according to the needs and the schedule of events.
The Stathatos Mansion houses temporary exhibitions and the offices of the museum. The building is accessible both from the corner of Vasilissis Sophias Avenue and Irodotou Street, and from the Main Building, via a closed passageway leading from the atrium.
The Stathatos Mansion, work of the Bavarian architect Ernst Ziller, is one of the most important extant examples of Neoclassical architecture in nineteenth-century Athens. It was built in 1895 as the residence of the family of Othon and Athina Stathatos, to whom it belonged until 1938. It subsequently housed diplomatic representations of various states. In 1982 it was purchased by the Greek State and was restored and refurbished by the architect P. Kalligas, with a view to its use as accommodation for VIP guests of the State. For various reasons this plan was abandoned and in 1991 the building was leased to the MCA, in order to cover its increased needs for exhibition space. In 2001 the Greek State decided to concede its use for another 50 years to the N.P. Goulandris Foundation, to facilitate the operation of the museum.