Nicholas In the Arena ©2011 by Trici Venola. Featured on the Drawing On Istanbul blog at tricivenola.wordpress.com, in 'Standing the Obelisk.' Nicholas sat for his portrait for about 45 minutes and told me he was into sports. This has to do with the background I chose. That's the Hippodrome, and those are the Obelisks. The one woven into Nicholas is the Egyptian Obelisk, 3600 years old, supported by marble carved in Theodosius's reign in CE 390, when it was erected. Those are chariots at the bottom, intersperced with dancing girls, celebrating the Blues and the Greens, two Byzantine chariot racing factions. Next to Nicholas is a vertical trough carved by 1600 years of rainfall. This monument survived epic riots, wars, sackings, and the Iconoclasts, proving that sports is an endurable passion, as endurable as Nicholas's bone structure, all carved from the same fine Greek substance. This background was drawn in about 15 late-afternoon hours during the Hippodrome Ramazan Festival, providing entertainment to many children as their parents waited to for sundown to eat. Commissioned by Nicholas's parents, Michael and Danai Constantinou, it stands in turn as a monument to his youth and promise.