Κάλλιστος (the fairest), λυσιμελής (limb-loosener), πυρίδρομος (who runs on a path of fire), διφυής (dual in nature or form), γλυκύπικρος (bittersweet), ἁβρός (tender), τακερός (melting, languishing), ἀλγεσίδωρος (pain inducer), σχέτλιος (cruel, merciless), ἀνίκατος (irresistible)… are only some of the adjectives used by the ancient Greeks to describe Eros.
The name Eros (which stands for love, desire, lust) and its derivatives (such as the term erotic in the English language) can be traced back to the ancient Greek verb ἐράω -ῶ, translating as “to love, desire, lust”. For the ancient Greeks, Eros was a broad concept, encompassing both sentimental and sexual desire.
It is this god who figures prominently in the exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art from 10 December 2009 to 5 April 2010. The exhibition Eros: from Hesiod’s theogony to late Antiquity, is curated by the Director of the Museum of Cycladic Art Professor Nicholas Chr. Stampolidis, in collaboration with Yorgos Tassoulas, curator of the Museum.
The exhibition is realised with the cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Greece), the Department of Antiquities (Cyprus), the Ministry of Culture (Italy), Regione Siciliana, the Louvre Museum and the support of the City of Athens.
Two hundred and seventy-two ancient objects, dating from the 6th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D., brought together from 50 museums in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and France (the Louvre) are classified into the nine thematic units of the Exhibition, which presents Eros in all its diversity, as he is perceived by the Greeks: a divine figure, a human value and a daily practice.
Among other masterpieces, the visitor will see the marble statue of Eros from the Museum of Louvre, the marble group of Eros and Psyche who embrace and are about to exchange a passionate kiss from the Musei Capitolini Rome, the bronze figurine of a weeping Eros from the Cyprus Museum Nikosia, the terracotta figurine of Eros who has fallen asleep resting on an inverted torch from the Stoa of Attalos Museum and the marble relief depicting the erotic encounter of Leda and Zeus transformed into a swan from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens
The exhibition is divided into 9 thematic units, encompassing all interpretations and manifestations of Eros throughout his existence in Antiquity, from his very first emergence in Hesiod’s texts until the prevalence of Christianity: Εros and Αphrodite, Qualities and Activities of Eros, Love Affairs and Weddings of Gods and Heroes, Love Affairs and Weddings of Mortals, Love Affairs that changed the course of history, Remunerated Love, Homoerotic Love, Bucolic Love Affairs and Ithyphallic divinities and phallic symbols.
Throughout the duration of the exhibition the Museum will organise guided tours for high-school students, evening tours for the public and lectures on the theme of Eros from ancient to contemporary art, as well as Eros in philosophy. The series of lectures will be given by Stelios Ramfos, Dimitris Plantzos and Katerina Zacharopoulou. An audio guide by Radiant Technologies will be available soon.
LENDERS TO THE EXHIBITION
Athens, Acropolis Museum
Athens, National Archaeological Museum
Athens, Canellopoulos Museum
Athens, Kerameikos Archaeological Museum
Athens, Museum of Cycladic Art
Athens, Numismatic Museum
Athens, The Stoa of Attalos Museum
Veroia Archaeological Museum
Delos Archaeological Museum
Drama Archaeological Museum
Edessa Archaeological Collection
Eretria Archaeological Museum
Thasos Archaeological Museum
Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum
V Thessaloniki, XVI Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities
Thebes Archaeological Museum
Kavala Archaeological Museum
Komotini Archaeological Museum
Kos Archaeological Museum
Marathon Archaeological Museum
Mykonos Archaeological Museum
Mytilini Archaeological Museum
Nisyros Archaeological Collection
Piraeus Archaeological Museum
Pella Archaeological Museum
Polygyros Archaeological Museum
Pythagoreion Samos Archaeological Museum
Rethymnon Archaeological Museum
Rhodes Archaeological Museum
Philippoi Archaeological Museum
Chalkis Archaeological Museum
Kourion Local Museum
Larnaca District Museum
Limasol District Museum
Nicosia Cyprus Museum
Paphos District Museum
Gela, Museo Archeologico Regionale
Lipari, Museo Archeologico Regionale “Luigi Bernabò Brea”
Bitonto, Museo Archeologico della Fondazione De Palo-Ungaro
Napoli, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Ruvo di Puglia, Museo Nazionale Jatta
Roma, Antiquarium Comunale
Roma, Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia
Roma, Musei Capitolini
Siracusa, Museo Archeologico Regionale “Paolo Orsi”
Taranto, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Tarquinia, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Civita Castellana, Museo dell’Agro Falisco
Firenze, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des antiquités grecques, étrusques et romaines
JEFF KOONS, BOURGEOIS BUST - JEFF AND LLONA
Τhe Museum of Cycladic Art hosts the Jeff Koons’ piece, Bourgeois Bust – Jeff and Ilona, in the Museum atrium, until April 2010.
The sculpture “Bourgeois Bust - Jeff and Ilona”, was created in order to be presented at the exhibition “Made in Heaven” (1989) where Jeff Koons explored the idea of Love, particularly after his marriage with the actor of erotic films Ilona Staller.
The couple is portrayed as a bust in an embracing position, following the Baroque style which is, nonetheless, influenced and inspired by elements of the ancient Greek classical sculpture.
Ilona is depicted in first plan as a young maiden with her body and plaited hair decorated with strings of pearls, while her figure, an object of love and desire for the artist, is compared to Venus, the Greek Goddess of Love.
Underlined by the artist’s declaration “We’ve become Gods”, the work exudes immense sensuality and expresses the passage of the pair through their intellectual and natural conjunction in a higher level of idealised existence and sentimental ecstasy.
In the series “Made in Heaven” the artist exposes the private moments of his erotic life, desiring the seduction of the spectator, who becomes, even unwillingly, partaker of the scene.
The bust portrait of Jeff Koons and Ilona (Cicciolina) incarnates the seduction as element of control for the public, from the contemporary mass media.
Jeff Koons is considered as one of the most important contemporary American artists, who acquired particular publicity in the middle of 1980 as part of a generation of artists, that explored the meaning of art in a period saturated by influences of the mass media.
Professor Nicholas Chr. Stampolidis
Director, Museum of Cycladic
Curator of Antiquities, Museum of Cycladic