Photographer's Note

With great interest, I looked at Murat's photos from Hagia Sophia. It looks so different now when it has become a mosque. I spent quite a lot of time comparing my photos taken in 2013 with the ones by Murat. With quite a horror I read that the beautiful mosaics are now covered during religious events. But can we be sure that they will not be removed? Religious fanatics are dangerous and have no respect for culture. Enough to think about what happened in Syria.
So, here are the mosaics from Hagia Sophia. Can they be seen?
The second mosaics shows Irene and John II Comnenus.This mosaic, executed between 1122 and 1134, is located in the church’s south gallery. There is a Virgin and Child between the imperial couple. To the left, John II Comnenus is dressed in a richly decorated purple tunic. He wears a loros – a long, wide scarf – and a crown in the shape of a hemispherical bowl topped by a cross, known as a kamelaukion. He holds a purse, which he presents to the Mother of God, the Theotokos. To the right, Irene wears a luxuriously decorated red garment with wide sleeves and a loros. She is decked out with magnificent jewels, including a crown adorned with precious stones. Her red hair and plaits evoke her Hungarian roots. She holds a roll, a chrysobull, an official decree sealed with a golden seal, which she presents to the Virgin .

The third mosaic shows the Byzantine empress Zoe Porphyrogenita (c. 978 – 1050) and her third husband, emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (c. 1000 – 1055), donating money and ongoing imperial revenue to Christ as Pantokrator (“Judge of All”). Constantine holds a bag of money, called an apokombion, which signifies an imperial donation to the church on high feast days or Holy Saturday. Zoe herself holds a scroll inscribed in red with a cross and Constantine’s official title, the standard Byzantine formula for a donation of estate or tax revenue. Zoe appears on the mosaic as a youthful and attractive young woman with rosy cheeks, yet by the time of her marriage to Constantine, Zoe was sixty-four.

In Workshop, I will show interior views in 2013.
I hope you will find it interesting. Sad that I am already forgotten by some people here.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13102 W: 141 N: 33900] (154354)
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