Discover more than 1,000 paintings produced by travellers who visited Cyprus between the 18th and 20th centuries displayed at CVAR’s four floor permanent exhibition area. The paintings are accompanied by memorabilia, traditional costumes and photographs that bring to life aspects of the island’s cultural heritage and daily scenes as experienced by these travellers during their visits.
The ground floor is dedicated to travellers of the 18th century who visited the island during the Ottoman period. Among them Cornelius Van de Bruyn, Luigi Mayer and Louis-François Cassas who were impressed by the island’s Gothic remains and Cypriot antiquities. Among the highlights are the drawings of Edmond Duthoit that document the last years of Ottoman rule on the island through the eyes of a French ethnographer.
The first floor takes the visitor to the 19th century when the island was acquired by the British Empire. British artists and travellers such as Tristram Ellis arrived in Cyprus to portray the new acquisition. Some amateur artists, such as Ann Villiers, Colonel Benjamin Donisthorpe Donne and Colonel Hugh Montgomerie Sinclair, documented Cypriot landscapes, monuments, the local population and the British militia.
The second floor covers the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century through a display of art by Arthur Legge, with his wonderful Friday bazaar scene, 1928, and the Gladys Peto drawings depicting scenes in Cyprus of the 1920s, her style being influenced by the Art Deco movement. A section of the room is dedicated to the last queen of Cyprus Caterina Cornaro whose figure inspired artworks produced in the 19th century such as Robert Anning Bell’s ‘Catherine Queen of Cyprus’, c. 1900 and Carl Werner’s ‘The Departure of Queen Caterina Cornaro from Venice to the island of Cyprus’, 1865.
The last floor concentrates on artwork of the 20th century. Paintings by Sir Cedric Morris, Ben Nicholson and David Bomberg’s painting depicting the ‘Gate to the Princess Garden St. Hilarion Mountain, Cyprus’ produced in 1948, are some of the highlights of this floor. Finally, at the end of the last ramp one may enter and visit the library and memorabilia of the former president Glafcos Clerides.
Samples of traditional costumes of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities as well as the Latin and Armenian communities are exhibited in all floors presenting the development of Cypriot dress throughout the ages reflective of the island’s multicultural heritage.