INTRODUCTION TO THE CYCLADIC SCULPTURES
Little is known about the Cycladic people and their world. So why do the distinctive and remarkable Cycladic Sculptures
, created between 5000 and 2400 BC, make such an impact upon the contemporary mind?
The Cycladic Islands of Greece are set in the Aegean Sea. The ancient Greeks called these islands the kyklades, a scattered kyklos, or circle, of islands around the holy island and sanctuary of Apollo, Delos.
The Cycladic Sculptures
all possess certain features -canonical [folded arms], proportional and simplistic. They appear in this gallery as pure in their whiteness. However, these sculptures were frequently painted. Pigments were used to add detail. The only facial feature carved was the nose. The sculptures have all been excavated at Cycladic cemetaries.
The Neolithic and Bronze Age Cycladic figures present an intriguing link between 'prehistoric art' and ‘Western art’; between the figurines of Galgenburg and Willendorf and the sculptures of Brancusi and Modigliani. As Lord Colin Renfrew, former Disney Professor of archaeology at Cambridge, states, ‘a handsome standing figure, with quiet, unassertive rhythms and balanced proportions, achieves one of the most compelling early statements of the human form’.
Is it that there is something incredibly modern about these Prehistoric Figurine Sculptures
, or has humankind always portrayed the human form in a manner that utilises elegance and simplicity, with figures mastered by style and yet full of life. The emotional pitch is achieved by the omissions, distortions and exaggerations, and in so doing the artists create a tension between the abstract and the real.
View the the Cycladic Sculptures Gallery