Marie-Louise Winbladh

Archaeologist and artist

Cypro-Archaic I feeding-bottle.


Alert horses from Mersinaki, Cyprus, in the storerooms

More modern horses

For more than 35 years, I was a curator at the Medelhavsmuseet in Stockholm, specialized on the archaeology of Cyprus and Crete. From 1971 until 2001 I was in charge of the famous Cyprus Collections in Stockholm. During all these years I produced exhibitions and organized the work in the storerooms with the many precious antiquities housed in the museum. I have also written several books, been giving lectures, and many other tasks. My books deal with archaeology, history and religion on Cyprus and Crete during antiquity.
Most of the time I spent in the storerooms, a rather heavy and thankless task since I was responsible for the climatic conditions in the showcases and the basement, and the result was never visible. But if you are devoted to the collections and the museum, even this was enjoyable.
Several times I was invited to Cyprus to lecture about the Cyprus Collections and my books. It was always a pleasure to see my friends in Cyprus and to meet an enormous interest in the Collections, since the contrast to the conditions in Sweden was immense.
I also tried to spend all the time I could in the archives of the Cyprus Collections in the museum, since they are also an important part of the museum. For many years I tried to ”save” the old notebooks of the Swedish Cyprus Expedition, but I failed. The notebooks are in a very bad condition, written with pencil on paper and the script is hardly readable any more. Unfortunately nothing seems to be done to prevent the destruction of these valuable documents.

Since 2000 AD the museum, including the Cyprus Collections, belong to a new authority together with other three museums, and things have changed dramatically. The main task of the museum is now to be a modern, professional institution, where knowledge and experience are of no value. Conservators or curators, in charge of the collections, are no longer needed. On the other hand, skill must be needed in order to produce exhibitions with no experts on the subject areas of the most important collections in the museum.

In 2006 I had to leave the museum since my qualifications were no longer needed. However, I keep my knowledge intact and I sometimes give lectures on different subjects.
I also try to write books and articles, but I never succeed in publishing anything in Sweden since the interest for Cyprus and Crete here is very low and not profitable for the editors. It is also impossible to get access to the storerooms with are now located far away from the museum.

During the 1970’s I was a member of the Greek-Swedish Excavations at Chaniá in western Crete, and I am resposible for the publication of the stonevases and a main part of the terracotta figurines.

Paintings – oil on canvas & watercolour
For many years painting and sketching was one of my main interests. I have mostly found my motifs in Crete, where I have painted at least several hundreds of watercolours. I used these at home in Sweden when I wanted to paint a landscape in oil. Crete – but also Cyprus – is very beautiful and the scenery often has so brilliant colours that they not seem to be real and almost exaggerated when you are going to paint them. But the one who has been visiting Greece, knows about the strong sunlight, the azure blue sea and the ochre-coloured cliffs – motifs that are difficult to reproduce. Not to mention cascades of red bougainvillea on the white houses in the villages. Or silver-green olive grooves and sweet-scented lemon-trees against the blue-grey Cretan mountains. I also love sketching, and I very often bring my sketchbook with me when visiting Cretan parties, when people play and dance all the night.

Horses is another favorite motif of mine. I am a passionate rider since I was a small girl. Many years ago I was working with racehorses on a studfarm, where I learnt a lot about horses and their care. I have been riding racehorses and also learnt how to drive trotters. Then I learnt a lot about the anatomy of the horse, which is very important when you want to draw these beautiful animals. I have been riding since I moved to Stockholm 30 years ago, and I have drawn a lot of horses in stables and fields. I also visit circuses to draw and photograph horses.

Latest at the Greek Tourist Office (2001) and Art Gallery (2005), both in Stockholm.
Both my paintings and my books are for sale.