February 23, 2010

Hagia Sophia





Hagia Sophia, as you see it today, is the third incarnation of this sacred site that was first dedicated by Justinian I on December 26, 537.  This structure was established to visibly mark the emperor's victory over Rome, as well as signify the importance of Istanbul as a global city worthy of having such a religious structure.

Most notable on the interior is the immense height, the use of domes and columns for support and the decorative mosaics.  



The most recognized of the mosaics are the Comnenus Mosaic (c. 1122) and the Deesis Mosaic (c. 1261).  It was typical during this time for wealthy patrons to fund the construction and installation of the mosaics.  In return, they are often shown in the murals (as illustrated by the Empress Irene below) which further illustrates their wealth and religious devotion by visually showing them in close proximity to religious figures such as the Virgin Mary, Christ as a child and John the Baptist.

   


To walk among this structure is to be in awe: the scale, the ornament, the detail left me in appreciation for the architectural engineering that existed fifteen hundred years ago.

As a designer, it was when I turned the corner in one of the back passage ways, that I found an area of inspiration: the use of varying species of stone for decoration.


On a practical standpoint within the industry, marble specimen is typically found within lighting and tables, rather than the construction itself.  Enjoy a few of my favorites!


Brooks Lamp by Frederick Cooper.




Marble Specimen Obelisk from Kevin Stone Antiques, New Orleans

                          


Antique Italian Gilt Gueridon, c. 1820, from Therien.


                                        

                       


18th Century Irish marble mantle with decorative stone inlay from Chesney's London


                                

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