Pentadaktylos – Impressions

Pentadaktylos – Impressions

10 May 2019 – 22 September 2019

Wishing to present the everlasting, undeniable relationship of the Pentadaktylos mountain range with the city of Nicosia, the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia has included in its festive 30th anniversary programme (1989-2019) the temporary exhibition Pentadaktylos – Impressions.

The presence of Pentadaktylos is eternally connected to the image of Nicosia, both for the locals, but also for tourists. The exhibition’s engravings, photographs, postcards, publications and artworks showcase the vast importance of the mountain range as an integral part of Nicosia’s landscape, which follows and defines the northern view of the city. Material from the rich Photographic Archive of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia especially presents facets of Pentadaktylos from 1878 until right before Independence in 1960. For the purposes of the exhibition, drawings were loaned by the A. G. Leventis Gallery, while numerous exhibits were borrowed from private collections.

The curator of the exhibition, the professor and artist Dr Savvas Christodoulides, explains in the exhibition catalogue:

‘For decades, images of the Pentadaktylos have held an important place in the subject matter of the country’s artists and foreign travellers. The landscapes executed during the first decades of the 20th century have since been followed by many others. In these works the mountain occupies the secondary or subsequent layers of the composition, thus sealing the horizon.

‘Overall, these works depict views of the capital, with the mountain range as a backdrop to what is rendered in the foreground. The compositions adhere to a principle of superposition or succession, whereby closer elements acquire a greater presence, detail and clarity in relation to what retreats or vanishes in the distance. Houses, mosques and palm trees encompass the space, leaving parts of the mountain to appear in the back. At times, hints of pale colour lend an idyllic note to the mostly black-and-white compositions.

‘Photographs of the capital with the mountain range in the background first appeared in 1878 with the work of the English professional photographer John Thomson. At the same time, the Asia Minor residents John P. Foscolo and the Armenian Mateos M. Papazian, as well as the German Charles Glaszner, who all later settled in Limassol, produced photographs in a similar vein until the first decades of the following century. The Cypriot photographer Theodoulos N. Toufexis, who was professionally active until the 1940s, produced an important body of work. Significant, too, was the presence of Haigaz Mangoian, Giragos Zartarian and Vahan Avedissian, all of Armenian descent, who produced noteworthy work, largely during the period 1930-1950, as did their Cypriot contemporary, Felix Yiaxis. Shortly before Independence, Apostolos Ververis from Greece and Reno Wideson from Cyprus produced work with similar subject matter.’

The exhibition constitutes a view of the mountain range in a different perspective, which is showcased alongside the temporary exhibition Pentadaktylos – Contemporaries at the A. G. Leventis Gallery (29 March 2019 – 16 September 2019).

Invaluable research for Pentadaktylos – Impressions was carried out by Lefki Michaelidou.

30th anniversary programme sponsors: A. G. Leventis Foundation, Nicosia Municipality
‘Themed retrospectives’ and Pentadaktylos – Impressions sponsor: ExxonMobil
Media sponsor: SuperAd
Supported by: The Association of the Friends of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia and the A. G. Leventis Gallery