The Collection

The Collection
Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos have created with real dedication an extensive Collection of substance and priceless value
Collection P. & A. Canellopoulos

The Collection of Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos includes more than 6,500 works of art from different eras, cultures, and styles. Paul Canellopoulos’ passion, which was shared by his wife Alexandra Canellopoulos, was the driving force behind the creation of an exceptional Collection.

At the beginning of his collecting activity, during the 1920s, Paul Canellopoulos focused his interest almost exclusively on Byzantine icons. The first ten icons, which he acquired over a period of two years, were the impetus for the development of his rich collection. Fully aware of the Collection’s potential, beyond “the narrow limits of man”, he devoted himself to its synthesis. Possessing knowledge and understanding of the evolution of Greek Art over the centuries, he enriched the Collection with antiquities from the Prehistoric, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods, as well as more recent works of Art.

“When a collector reaches the point of having the greatest private collection of Greek antiquities, inevitably it ceases to belong to him, it belongs to everyone,” Paul Canellopoulos had written. His statement fully reflects his rationale and the motivation for donating the Collection to the Greek State in 1972. The Collection found a permanent home in the neoclassical house of the architect Ioannis Michaleas and his family, built at the end of the 19th century on the northern slope of the Acropolis. The conversion of the Michaleas house into a museum was completed in 1976 and in July of the same year, the museum opened its doors to the public. In 2004, the need to expand the Museum was deemed imperative as the available space was insufficient, resulting in several valuable objects remaining in storage. Alexandra Canellopoulos offered the solution by acquiring the land adjacent to the Michalea mansion and donating it to the Greek State. The architect Paul Kalligas designed the New Wing of the Museum which doubled the available exhibition space.

In the heart of Athens, the Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum stands as an integral part of a larger, open-air museum. Heading up from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street to Theorias Street, the visitor arrives at the entrance of the Museum. Paul Canellopoulos called the route “a walk of contemplation”. In this privileged spot, the Museum is in direct dialogue with the sacred rock, as well as with a multitude of significant archaeological sites. The visit to the Museum is a unique experience of a journey through 6,000 years of History, Art and Culture. Its hospitable space invites the visitor to witness the history of Greek art over thousands of years. Along with its engagement in exhibitions and research projects around the world, the Museum offers a wide spectrum of events and educational programs that encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of its permanent Collection.

The Collection
A unique cultural experience of 6,000 years of history and art more information about the Canellopoulos Museum
Figurine type Ψ
13th c. BC
Terracotta female figurine
5000 – 4400 BC
Marble female figurine
2800/2700 – 2100 BC
Mycenaen kylix with tall stern
13th c. BC
Black-figured Boeotian skyphos
6th c. BC
Figurine of a mounted horseman
560-550 BC
“Melian relief” representing Elektra and Orestes at the tomb of Agamemnon
470-460 BC
Clay protome of Dionysos
380-360 BC
Lucanian red-figured bell-crater
390-380 BC
Black-figured hydria
530-525 BC
Bronze ram from a ship
3rd . BC
“Melian” relief representing Triton and Theseus
470-460 BC
Gold bracelets with animal heads
4th c. BC
Bronze hydria
480-470 BC
Head of a female figure
2nd c. AC
Bronze helmet of Illyrian type
6th c. BC
Lion from a grave monument
4th c. BC
Hyperpyron of Andronikos I
Saints Theodore on horseback
Lead bull of the Ekdikoi of Hagia Sophia
11th c.
Wood-carved triptych
18th c.
Saint Catherine
17th c.
Chalice of the prelate Theoleptos
16th c.
Hexaptych with the Deesis, inset in a later frame
16th c.
Triptych with the Deesis
Man of Sorrows
15th c.
Central leaf of a triptych: The Adoration of the Magi
17th c.
The Virgin, Madre della Consolazione
15th c.
Pectoral cross
7th c.
Earring with bust of the Virgin
10th -11th c.

The Paul & Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation publishes three volumes that enrich our knowledge about Ancient and Byzantine Art through objects displayed at the Canellopoulos Museum and about Despotiko and the chronology of excavations, finds and restorations to date.

Proceeds from the sales of the publications are used to support the Foundation's initiatives.