Engravings of Cyprus


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In 1570 Venice lost Cyprus to the Turks. The Ottoman rule was to last for three centuries until the “Enchanted Island” was ceded to Great Britain. The year was 1878 and coincides with the date of the earliest known photographic images of Cyprus. Before the introduction of the camera however, printed pictures had to be laboriously prepared through the engraving technique. Although the art of engraving attracted great European masters, like Albrecht Durer, Titian and Rembrandt, most engravers did not execute independently inspired subjects but rather copied paintings, sculpture and the like to provide illustrations for books. Most of the engravings of Cyprus fall in this category. As such, they are historically relevant documents which compement written sources published in Europe in the 17th – 19th centuries. Even during the course of oppressive Ottoman occupation, the island, lying in the crowssroads of the Mediterranean, remained the unavoidable, stepping-stone in the “Voyage to the East” for generations of European travellers. Scholars, diplomatics, natural historians and scientists left different accounts of Cyprus, enriched with rare illustrations which preserve vivid images of the island’s heritage: Byzantine churches and Frankish castles; sketches of landscapes and neighbourhoods; aspects of townships and harbours; portraits of the long-gone Lusignan nobility and of the Cypriote populace in their traditional costumes. Following a publication of Cyprus Cartography, and based on the Cultural Foundation’s own collection of rare books and prints, the present essay focuses briefly on the history of the “ENGRAVINGS OF CYPRUS”. – Andreas Patsallides, Chairman, Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation The engravings of Cyprus constitute reliable historical evidence that add to written sources dating from the 17th to the 19th century. This folio includes brief accounts on the history and techniques of the engraving art as well as a detailed description of various engravings depicting historical and biblical scenes, landscapes and edifices, historical figures and plants of Cyprus.

Additional information

Weight 0.092 kg
Dimensions 20.5 × 29 cm


Yiannis Kypri, Maria Iacovou




Print Type