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Portara :: Cycladic Culture

Cycladic Culture

The Cycladic culture is a distinctive Greek civilization that flourished from about 3200-2000 BC in the Cycladic(kikladhes).

The Cycladic was comprised of a small group of islands in the Aegean Sea.
Limestone formations such as marble are among the main geological components of the Cycladic Islands, except for the volcanic islands of Thera (Santorini) and Melos. The Cyclades were an important center of culture development. The islands were rich in copper, silver and lead. Their pottery was distinctively decorated and their most attractive products were made from marble.

Naxos was the most notable island in Cyclades because of its productive subsoil and its ready supply of marble. The good quality of Naxian marble is still well known and there is still an excess of marble today.

Impressive dedications, given by Naxian donors and made by Naxian artists, were found in many of the large and splendid sanctuaries of the archaic period (7th - 6th Centuries B.C.) -- at the temples of Apollo at Delphi and in Delos, and of Athena on the Athenian Acropolis. Marble bowls and elegant collared jars are usually found in graves.

Human figures, mostly female, with the arms folded above the belly, are the most distinctive marble products. Many figurines have been found in graves and were probably associated with funeral rites, although some larger ones likely came from settlements or shrines.


These marble statues were carved from clear, white transparent marble. Their usual shape and abstract form continually enchant and fascinate European geologists and collectors of unusual objects. These statues continue to intrigue contemporary artists today that music concerts, literary festivals, special tributes to Cycladic artist's conferences and exhibitions are all devoted to the glory of the Cycladic civilization.

About 350 such artifacts -- called Goulandri's Collection -- exist today in the Museum of Cycladic Art and the National Archaelogical Museum. These artifacts were recently exhibited at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.

These collections have been exhibited in some of the most important museums in the world -- the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, the Museum of Fine Art at Houston, the Royal Museum of History and Art in Brussels, the British Museum in London and the Grand Palais in Paris.

Today, the Cycladic artisans' sculptured works are considered as some of man's great creations.