Curriculum Vitae


  • Former Dept Head at Christie's in London
  • Discovered an icon which belonged to Tsar Nicholas II
  • Achieved a world record price for an icon at auction
  • Educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London
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We would like to introduce you to Maria Paphiti, Auctionata expert in Byzantine Art as well as Russian and Greek Icons.

Maria Paphiti is an art historian specializing in Byzantine art and Russian and Greek icons. Between 2005 and 2009 she headed the department of icons at Christie’s. In this role Ms. Paphiti provided her expertise for valuations of icons and Orthodox artefacts offered in Christie’s sales worldwide.

During The XXI International Byzantine Congress in August 2006, she exhibited highlights from Christie’s upcoming sale of icons, the first of its kind to take place in more than a decade. The following year auctions of icons at Christie’s under the leadership of Ms. Paphiti achieved a total in excess of £7 million, thus making 2007 the most successful year in the international market for icons. Furthermore, an icon discovered by her, which belonged to Tsar Nicholas II, was sold for the world-record price of 434,400 GBP. A second personal success of Ms. Paphiti’s was the identification of a museum-quality 14th century Byzantine icon of the Hospitality of Abraham, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2009, Maria Paphiti negotiated the sale of a US prominent collection of icons, which was eventually acquired by the privately owned Museum of Russian icons in Moscow. During the same year, she brokered the sale of an important Byzantine icon of the Mother of God painted by the Cretan iconographer Angelos Akotantos (ca. 1450). The icon, located in a private collection in Rome, was purchased by the Cleveland Museum of Art and it is installed in the museum’s galleries since December 2011.

Maria Paphiti has received worldwide media coverage, both because of her activity in the icons market and also because of her contribution to the repatriation of looted icons from Cyprus. She was educated from the University of Cyprus, Christie’s Education, and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Maria Paphiti lives and works in Cyprus.