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15 June 1981
2/1981
Commemorative Issue

500th Anniversary of Da Vinci's visit to Cyprus

Cyprus
"From the southern seaboard of Cicilia may be seen to the south the beautiful island of Cyprus which was the realm of the goddess Venus, and many there have been who, impelled by her loveliness, have had their ships and rigging broken upon the rocks that lie among the seething waves. Here the beauty of some pleasant hills invites the wandering mariners to take there ease among its flowery verdure, where the zephyrs continually come and go, filling with sweet odours the island and the encompassing sea...". This note is found in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) one of the most prominent artists and one of the most complex geniuses not only of he era (Italian Renaissance) but of all times. In the same page there is also a ground plan, a front view and a description of the structure of a temple of Aphrodite. Although there does not exist any historical evidence for the visit of Leonardo in Cyprus, the description given in that note about the beauties of the island, allows us to presume that Leonardo has indeed visited Cyprus. This presumption is enforced by sources according to which the visit took place in 1481 (500 years ago) during the reign of Katherine Cornaro, queen of Cyprus, who entertained the famous painter. It is said that Leonardo was so much impressed by the Lefkara laces that he took with him one which he offered to be used on the Altar of the Cathedral of Milan.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

A self-portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci  

A self-portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Lord  

The Lord's Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci

A Lefkara Lace with the Cathedral of Milan in the background  

A Lefkara Lace with the Cathedral of Milan in the background

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