Zampelas Art Museum houses Loukia & Michael Zampelas’ private collection of art and is a recognized pioneer of collecting, promoting and educating people about contemporary art that includes paintings, drawings, installations and sculptures. The permanent collection, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2016, includes 1200 works, most of which were created by world-renowned artists.
The building that houses the museum was designed by Asos Dikeos. Its modern design includes metal structural elements, minimalist interior, large open spaces and unusual angles and views of the city that can be glimpsed from the windows. The style of the building combines classical traditions and modernity, which is so typical of Nicosia itself. All this leaves a strong impression and prepares visitors for the art that they are about to see.
Most of the artists exhibited at Zampelas are Cypriots, but there are also some remarkable foreign artists (Europeans and Russians) with a worldwide reputation (e.g. Dali, Picasso). The collection grows thanks to the new works bought by art dealers at shows and exhibitions. The Gallery used to once hold its own competitions geared at discovering new names and young talens.
The idea that lies at the foundation of the museum is promoting art and culture in Cyprus and abroad as well as supporting local, Greek and foreign artists and providing art education to the public.
The second floor houses works by a famous contemporary Cypriot artist Andreas Haralampus alongside paintings by various Greek artists. You will be pleasantly surprised to see a few works by Pablo Picasso that include his finished works as well as sketches of nude female figures. Admirers of Salvador Dali will be able to enjoy three of his works on display in this exhibition hall.
Take a look at the oldest painting exhibited in the museum: «Outside Napfilo» (1870) is a work by Constantinos Volanakis (1837-1907), one of the more significant Greek masters of marine art.
As we go up, we come across an unforgettable view of Old Nicosia and the Pentadaktylos Mountains — located nearby. If you walk down the passage that passes over the courtyard and the garden, stop to look through its glass walls and see an art installation by Alekis Dikeos, which is a wall with traditional blue carved window shutters mounted on to it.
We walk across an actual bridge, surrounded by monumental works of art, among which is a piece by Glafkos Koumides that is an allegory of the Byzantine art.
The first work that you will run into is a piece by Dimitrios Antis (Ανθης «Το καρο»), which was also the first piece in the Zampelas family collection. Its owner is very proud of it, and likes to pay particular attention to its origins when he gives his visitors a tour of the gallery.
The second floor is very spacious and houses a collection of paintings and drawings by major artists working in Cyprus and abroad. Pay particular attention to Christoforos Savva (1924-1968), who worked with different media, such as cement, which he used to create incredibly expressive works that later inspired a whole movement of similar art.
Did you know that the first art gallery in Cyprus opened in 1960 thanks to the efforts of Christoforos Savva (Cyprus) and Glyn Hughes (Wales; his works are also on display at Zampelas).
Here is another talented artist: Ümit Inatçı — a Turkish Cypriot, whose works are vivid examples of conceptual art in Cyprus. Look around to see contemporary installations that combine different art forms, such as «Spring Dream II» by Vangelis Rinas, which is a large-scale depiction of a seated girl who seems to be day-dreaming. Meanwhile, right in front of the painting is a wooden bench with that same girl, but this time made of bronze, lying on top of it.
Another monumental work that is sure to draw your attention is «Bypassing the Tselevinia» created by Panayiotis Tetsis in 2009. It is a depiction of Hydra as seen from the sea. The air in the painting seems to be filled with sunshine and the salty smell of the sea.
The gallery also includes works by the first professional Cypriot painter, Nikos Nikolaidis (1884-1956), such as his «Egyptian Landscape». There is a selection of naïve art by the talented Michael Chr. Kashialos (1885-1974) that includes genre scenes and portraits of his fellow villagers.
If you keep going you will encounter works by contemporary artists such as Stass Paraskov, Andreas Chrysohos (who shifted from iconography to abstract art) and Renos Loizou — the first Cypriot to be exhibited at the Tate Gallery in London.
We were invited to meet with the founder of this museum, Mr. Michael Zampelas (former mayor of Nicosia and founder of many other famous organizations in Cyprus):
«The most important thing for a collector is securing support from his/her partner. It is only if your spouse shares your love and passion for art that you can start collecting. Don’t sit around waiting for «that moment». Always act!»
«The building where we are right now is new (2012) and as you can see it is very modern, which allows the past to live alongside the present. The gallery was partly built on the basis of our old family home.
Our main idea is to create an educational platform for adults and children and make art accessible to everyone.
The majority of the collection (95%) is comprised of Cypriot artists and foreigners who reside on the island. In addition to this, we also have Greeks and other nationalities, such as Russians. We believe that art should «function» and not just sit somewhere on the shelf. Surround yourself with it, aim to understand it and make it part of your life.
The mission of the museum, as I see it, is to give the public a chance to connect with culture and art. It is a type of bridge and a medium for communication between people around the world».
Dear friends, if you like contemporary art and want to learn more about the arts and culture of Cyprus, we urge you to visit the Zampelas Art Museum. You might also enjoy some of the educational programs or concerts that the museum frequently holds. Don’t forget that the museum is located close to the historic center of the capital with its many architectural monuments and cultural attractions.
As you enter the museum, stop by the small research library or the souvenir shop located further down the hall of the first floor.
The basement floor houses an art salon where you can purchase works of art and maybe even start a collection of your own.
Events: every month in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Education the Museum holds concerts and lectures. Take a yoga class offered in the outdoor courtyard, or a class on making art from cement. There are also workshops for children.
The Museum also has its own framing studio, where you can count on any kind of assistance in framing your painting or drawing.
Zmart Framing: 3 Panayioti Kaspi Street, (Dionisos building, Nicosia CY-1095)
Telephone: +357 22456099
The Loukia & Michael Zampelas Art Museum: 27 Archiepiskopou Makariou III, Nicosia, Cyprus
Working hours: Monday - Thursday 10:00 -18:00, Friday 10:00 - 19:00, Saturday 10:00 - 18:00.
Summer: July (closed on Saturdays), August 1st-21st closed.
Telephone: +357 22456098
See you soon!