Cyprus, the Orient and Europe

This exhibition traces the remarkable artistic history of Cyprus from the 4th century AD, when Constantinople was founded and Christianity triumphed across the Roman Empire, to the Turkish conquest of the island in 1571. The Island of Cyprus, a gateway to the Orient, was initially and until the 7th century a rich province of the Byzantine Empire. It was then at the heart of the rivalry between the Arabs and the Byzantines until the 10th century. In 965, it became fully Byzantine again for two centuries. Conquered by Richard the Lion Heart in 1191, at the end of the Third Crusade, it fell the following year to the Lusignans. Their kingdom was in turn ceded to the Venetians in 1489. Cyprus then became one of the jewels of the Serene Republic until the Turkish conquest of 1571. The exhibition, complemented by a special feature from the Department of Sculptures on archeologist and art historian Camille Enlart, brings together for the first time artworks from around ten Cypriot museums, from the collections of the diocese of Nicosia along with several others. It also includes major loans from the public collections of France, Italy, the United States, Hungary and the United Kingdom. Visitors will be enlightened on each of the major periods in the checkered history of medieval Cyprus, in turn Byzantine, Latin, Gothic and Venetian, but fully traversed by a strong Byzantine heritage.