From Athens to Toronto: A Greek Masterpiece Revealed

ROM offers visitors a rare opportunity to see one of the world’s great ancient sculptures.

TORONTO, ON, February 23, 2022 – On March 12, 2022, ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) visitors will have the rare opportunity to experience Kore 670 — a gift to a goddess, one of the best-preserved and most stunningly beautiful Korai statues from the legendary citadel of the Acropolis of Athens. This is a unique opportunity to see one of the world’s great ancient sculptures in the heart of downtown Toronto and at ROM only until September 25, 2022.

Celebrating 80 years of Canada-Greece relations, this exceptional marble sculpture is on loan to ROM as part of an exchange of iconic objects with the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, with ROM sending two treasured vases from the Museum’s Greek collections for display at the Acropolis Museum from June 20 to January 8, 2023.

This magnificent work of art has left Greece only a very few times in its 2,500-year history. With Kore 670’s exclusive presentation in Toronto, visitors can enjoy and appreciate this unique icon of Hellenic art for the short time it is here.

This Kore, or figure of a maiden, created between 520-510 BCE, is considered one of the most important and beautiful of the sculptures from the Acropolis appreciated for its fine detail and preservation. In many places, the statue retains remnants of its once colourfully painted figure, which have largely been worn away by time and the elements. This sculpture offers visitors a portal into the history and beauty of ancient Greek art, the tumultuous history of the Acropolis and the birthplace of democracy, and an incredible story of discovery.

Kore 670 (Kore is Greek for girl) was a gift to the goddess Athena, daughter of Zeus. The many Korai (plural of Kore), that in ancient times adorned the Acropolis of Athens, represent some of the most iconic images in Greek culture and civilization. In the centuries that passed since the destruction of Athens and the Acropolis in 480 BCE, Kore 670 and 13 other Korai were re-discovered in 1886 when archaeologists were excavating the site.

This installation also invites audiences to re-examine our understanding of white marble sculptures and the appeal of colour in the Archaic Age. Unpainted marble has been accepted for centuries as the original and intended appearance of statues. In fact, these sculptures were initially overlaid and adorned with vibrant colours and a Greek sculpture was never thought to be complete until it was painted. The bright hues of Kore 670 have decomposed over time, but the remaining traces on this sculpture highlights how colourful art was in antiquity.

This ROM installation is sponsored by the Hellenic Heritage Foundation of Canada (HHF) in recognition of the anniversary of Canada-Greece relations. A podcast produced by HHF will feature a conversation about Kore 670 and its significance to Greek culture. The podcast will be available for listening on the HHF website, ROM's Kore 670 webpage or via your favourite podcast provider.

ROM Learning is offering resources and activities in support of this presentation. To highlight how colour was an integral part of ancient Greek sculpture, there will be an eight-page Colours of Kore Discovery Book, as well as a Gallery Trail for classrooms and a Virtual Tour of the Kore 670 installation and other ROM galleries made available for audiences.

ROM holds Canada’s foremost and comprehensive museum collection of ancient Greek objects consisting of some 7,000 objects, representing one of the largest collections of Greek art in North America, with objects on display in the Gallery of Greece and the Gallery of the Bronze Age Aegean on level 3 of the Museum.

On loan from the Acropolis Museum. Issued by the excavations at the Acropolis of Athens conducted by the responsible service of the Greek State in 1886.



Image Credit
Detail (cropped) of Kore 670, profile of face & crown/earring, right side. © Acropolis Museum, photo: Giorgos Vitsaropoulos

Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum showcases art, culture and nature from around the world and across the ages. Among the top 10 cultural institutions in North America, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum is home to a world-class collection of 13 million art objects and natural history specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. As the country’s preeminent field research institute and an international leader in new and original findings, ROM plays a vital role in advancing our understanding of the artistic, cultural and natural world. Combining its original heritage architecture with the contemporary Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, ROM serves as a national landmark, and a dynamic cultural destination in the heart of Toronto for all to enjoy.

Opened in the summer of 2009, the new Acropolis Museum provides visitors with a comprehensive image of the Athenian Acropolis and its finds, within the comfortable environment of a modern building. Built a few meters from the Acropolis itself, the Museum offers a panoramic view of the Sacred Rock from its Galleries. Museum’s exhibition units are displayed on four separate levels: At the base of the building extend the remains of an ancient Athenian neighbourhood brought to light by archaeological excavation. The ground floor is dedicated to the sanctuaries and the settlement that developed on the slopes of the Acropolis in all historical periods. On the first floor, along a circular route, virtually the entire history of the summit of the Rock unfolds, from the 2nd millennium BC to the end of antiquity. The Museum’s exhibition reaches its high point at the third-floor gallery, where the sculptural decoration of the world-famous Parthenon is arrayed. Enjoy the Museum and its collections on its new website