- The signing of the MOU follows the September 2022 ratification by the Greek Parliament of a historic agreement between The Met, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and the Museum of Cycladic Art that will bring 161 stunning Cycladic artifacts from the Leonard N. Stern Collection to The Met for a 25-year display starting in January 2024.
- A selection of 15 of the most significant works from the collection are being displayed at the exhibition “Homecoming. Cycladic treasures on their return journey” at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, before traveling to The Met.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that The Met, the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Hellenic Republic, and the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens have committed to a long-term cooperative relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), that sets forth plans for the parties to collaborate on the advancement of the study of and education about Cycladic culture. The MOU was signed on November 2, 2022, in Athens, by Lina Mendoni, Greece’s Minister of Culture and Sport; Kassandra Marinopolou, President and CEO of the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens; and Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Through the agreement, the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and The Met will exchange expertise in the study and conservation of Cycladic works and share findings with the scholarly community through both an international symposium and an online database, among other initiatives.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding follows the September 2022 ratification by the Greek Parliament of a historic agreement between The Met, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and the Museum of Cycladic Art that will bring 161 stunning Cycladic artifacts from the Leonard N. Stern Collection to The Met for a 25-year display starting in January 2024. After the collection is on view in its entirety at the Museum for 10 years, select works will periodically travel to Greece over 15 years for display while other loans of Cycladic art will come to The Met. Following that 25-year loan period, important works of Cycladic art will continue to be loaned to The Met from Greece for an additional 25 years. Mr. Stern has also given a major gift to The Met to support the display and study of Cycladic art.
Director Hollein stated, “This Memorandum of Understanding builds on a fruitful partnership between The Met, the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Museum of Cycladic Art, and we are thrilled to memorialize our shared and ongoing commitment to the study of Cycladic culture. The Met extends special thanks to Greece and to the Museum of Cycladic Art for this important collaboration, and to the Greek Parliament for authorizing the historic long-term loan of the Stern Collection of works to The Met, and we look forward to future exchanges of scholarship and expertise. The Met is also deeply grateful to Leonard N. Stern for assembling this extraordinary collection and for dedicating funds for the study of these exceptional works and related archival material, which will be made widely available. We all benefit from the public display of art.”
Kassandra Marinopoulou, President and CEO of the Museum of Cycladic Art stated: “We are excited to be part of this Memorandum of Understanding and we want to thank the two other parties of the agreement. We are committed to collaborate on the advancement of the study and research on early Cycladic culture through scholarships, publications, international symposia, field word and the creation of a digital corpus of Cycladic Artifacts which are in museums worldwide. This corpus was the dream of our Founder Dolly Goulandris, and we are dedicated to accomplishing it. We strongly believe that collaborations between museums is the only way forward.”
The signing of the memorandum coincided with the opening at the Museum of Cycladic Art of the exhibition “Homecoming. Cycladic treasures on their return journey” which displays a selection of 15 of the most significant works from the Stern Collection—the first international display. The works will then travel to The Met to be displayed with the entire Stern Collection starting in January 2024.
The gift to The Met from Leonard N. Stern includes an endowment of an archive room in the Department of Greek and Roman Art’s Onassis Library for Hellenic and Roman Art, and the endowment of a position to facilitate the care of the archives and scholarly visits. Both the archive room and the endowed position will be named for Leonard N. Stern in recognition of his extraordinary generosity. An additional endowed fund will support programming around the Stern Collection, including fellowships for scholars from Greece to study the collection.
Leonard Stern commented, “I fell in love with Cycladic art when I was but 14 years old while visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thus began my lifelong passion to assemble and protect what was then a little-known area of antiquities. With the growing realization that my collection in its scope and size had become unique outside of Greece, I decided to work with Greece, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and The Met so that visitors in Greece and in New York can appreciate the magnificent beauty and mystical simplicity of these incredible objects carved some 4,500 years ago.”
About the Leonard N. Stern Collection
The Leonard N. Stern Collection comprises some 161 works made in the Cyclades primarily in the Early Bronze Age (3200 to 2000 B.C.E.). Nearly all the major types of Cycladic marble figurines are represented from the Late Neolithic period to the end of the Early Bronze Age, including violin shaped, Plastiras, Hybrid, Louros, Pre-canonical, Kapsala, Early Spedos, Late Spedos, Dokasthismata, Chalandriani, and Koumasa. The collection also has rare examples such as a “double figure” of the Early Spedos type. The objects range in size from diminutive figurines to reclining female over four feet long that ranks among the great works of Cycladic art. There are also several marble vessels, including beakers, bowls, collared jars or “kandilas,” and footed cups and palettes. Other object types of diverse media include a terracotta “frying pan,” a pair of electrum bracelets, and a bronze axe.
The Leonard N. Stern Collection will significantly enhance The Met’s ability to represent Cycladic art within the context of its encyclopedic collection. The Met’s collection of Greek and Roman art—more than 33,000 works ranging in date from the Neolithic period to the time of the Roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in 312 C.E. and beyond—includes the art of many cultures and is among the most comprehensive in North America. Over 7,500 of the department’s most important works are displayed in an acclaimed, award-winning installation in 26 galleries within The Met’s historic building on Fifth Avenue. The display in the primary galleries is augmented with many works of art on loan from institutions and private collections from around the world.
About The Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens—businessmen and financiers as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day—who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. Today, The Met displays tens of thousands of objects covering 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in two iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online. Since its founding, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.