Ancient artefacts from US billionaire’s private collection displayed for first time in Athens

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Fifteen ancient Greek artefacts from the private Cycladic art collection of a US billionaire went on display for the first time on Wednesday in Athens.

The Cycladic antiquities travelled to Athens following a deal between Greece and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for the repatriation of 161 artefacts collected over the years by Leonard N. Stern, a businessperson and philanthropist.

Speaking at a ceremony on the eve of the exhibition’s opening to the public, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it was “truly a special day for the cultural life of the country.”

On his Instagram feed, the director of the Met, Max Hollein, hailed the “great new partnership and a new solution to bring private collections with complex provenances to the public sphere.”

After being displayed for a year at the Cycladic Museum in Athens, the 15 works – the most significant of the collection – will be displayed in New York from early 2024 for 25 years. They will gradually be returned to Greece.

The deal between Greece and The Met, which was ratified by Greek lawmakers in September, has stirred controversy in Greece, where the opposition as well as many archaeologists and conservators have called for their immediate, permanent return.

Source: Reuters.

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