Eros, the god of love and the great loosener of limbs, was many things: irresistible, tender, beautiful, excruciating, maddening, merciless and bittersweet. There was no position, no touch, no predilection too outre to pay homage to him. From the affectionate embrace to group sex, love came in many forms.
“The Greeks were anything but prudes,” said Nicholaos Stampolidis, director of the Museum of Cycladic Art, where the show will run for six months. “Theirs was a society of great tolerance and lack of guilt.”
Standing before a giant marble phallus that once graced the facade of an ancient Greek home, he added: “It had what I call balance.”
By amassing some 272 objets d’art, including masterpieces from more than 50 international museums which date from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, Stampolidis has pulled off the impressive feat of telling the story of love in antiquity.
“The concept of Eros – love – was very broad in ancient times,” the archaeologist said. “Sexual desire was, of course, a component but it was also a unifying force that encompassed the desire for anyone or indeed anything.”