Heidi Trautmann

629 - A.G. Leventis Gallery newly opened in Nicosia South

By Heidi Trautmann


What is the priority on your list of musts when you go travelling, say to London, to Rome, Venice or St. Petersburg or wherever your trip of the year takes you? I am sure, it is the museums, all kind of museums - or correctly musea; so it is for me, especially the art museums. They are the pride of a nation, because that is where the soul of the nation is kept. The temple of the muses. Therefore the news that the Leventis Foundation has recently opened the new A.G. Leventis Gallery in Nicosia made my ears prick up and rush to see the treasures.

Most of the expats living in Cyprus will know the other and older cultural institution erected by the Leventis Foundation, the Ethnographical Leventis Museum within the walls of the Old City near the end of Ledra Street with regular art exhibitions and educational programmes. In the northern part of the island, close to Nicosia, we also have, for two years now,  a private ethnographical museum which is an enormous gain in our cultural assets but we do not have a museum of the arts, a national or private gallery with collections of art.

The new A.G. Leventis Gallery is situated not far away across the moat in the Leonidou Street and was opened on 25 March. It is an ultramodern building with interesting architectural realisations and with very good light conditions. The people managing the house are obviously very motivated and excited. There is a nice café next to the Lobby where you can discuss your impressions. In the Lobby itself you will find the Cyprus Collection which is dominated by Adamantios Diamantis’ huge painting of 11 panels which has finally found a home after being brought back from Tessaloniki; it was already shown last year in the building of the museum (see my review under Cyprus art news No.533). There is also a hall for temporary exhibitions in the basement. Then on the first floor you will find the French Collection, in two halls the works by artists from 17th to 20th century and on the third floor the Greek Collection, also divided in early and later art periods.


Who was A.G. Leventis?  Here an abstract from the history of the foundation:

Anastasios Leventis was born in Cyprus in 1902. He established one of the largest companies in West Africa and from 1966 served as Cyprus' honorary Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. From the beginning, the aim of the Foundation was to support educational, cultural, artistic and philanthropic causes in Cyprus, Greece and elsewhere. The range and direction of its activities were based on the philanthropic interests of the founder.

The Foundation supports many cultural organisations and has prioritised the study of the culture and history of Cyprus and Greece, and a focus on the communities of the Greek diaspora, particularly in Britain. Cultural, linguistic and religious concerns of the communities have received the most attention.  The most important initiative in this category has been The Hellenic Centre, in the heart of London, to which the Foundation has been the largest donor. An international programme of support for Greek studies, covering all historical periods, has developed over the years in parallel with efforts to study and enhance the presentation of Cypriot antiquities in foreign museums.

The Foundation's Publications Programme is largely related to the cultural heritage, archaeology and history of Cyprus.  It publishes under its own imprint and also makes supporting grants to other publishers and academic institutions.

The Scholarship Programme that had been initiated by A. G. Leventis himself has been gradually systematised and greatly expanded, almost exclusively at university level, and since 1992 only at post-graduate level. There is also a programme of research grants, essentially at post-doctoral level, covering subjects within the range of the Foundation's interests. In addition to these areas, a number of fields have received consistent support from the Foundation over a number of years. The environment is the principal of these, with programmes in Cyprus, West Africa and elsewhere targeted at the most pressing problems. Medical research and disease control and alleviation have also been important subsidiary activities. Grants have been made for various charitable causes in Cyprus.


That is a very impressive biography; however, in my view, the art history of Cyprus should also contain the art and artists from the other side, but perhaps one day in a near future…..The Gallery is open daily, except Tuesdays 10:00 – 17:00 hrs and Wednesdays 10:00 – 22:00 hrs; the gallery is closed on Tuesdays and on public holidays. Entrance fee is Euro 1:00; there are audio and multimedia guides.

The Gallery is on facebook and www.leventisgallery.org


Cyprus Collection - Diamantis
Cyprus Collection - Diamantis

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