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Othello's Island 2015

at the Severis Foundation • Nicosia • Cyprus


Speaker: Dr. Michael Paraskos (City and Guilds of London School of Art and Cyprus College of Art)

Title: “The Impact of Cyprus on Venetian Art (Actual and Possible)"




Despite being a small island there is a strong case to be made that Cyprus had a disproportionately large impact on creative minds in Western Europe during the medieval and renaissance periods, gaining a place in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare's Othello and numerous other literary texts during the period. Research has also been done on the impact of Western, and particularly Italian art on the visual art of Cyprus, but there is also direct and circumstantial evidence for a Cypriot impact on Western art.


The most direct evidence is the presence of the painter Giovanni di Cipro (John of Cyprus) in Venice, at least by the 1580s, not long after the Turkish conquest of Cyprus. But indirect evidence of Cyprus impacting the Western cultural consciousness comes from works like Titian's Flaying of Marsyas (c. 1575) and possibly other renaissance masters using Cypriot themes in their art in the aftermath of the traumatic loss of the Kingdom of Cyprus to the Turks.





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