ST JOHN’S BASILICA The vast rambling ruin of St John’s Basilica: demolished by earthquake, ravaged by marauders, scavenged by later builders; it looks like it has been picked up and dropped. Huge jagged chunks of sixth-century masonry rear at improbable angles. Columns march in all directions, supporting nothing, reassembled and re-erected by the Turkish Government. Hordes of Christian pilgrims stagger in the heat, a babble of guides in all languages, and I crouch in the weeds to draw this:
It’s my favorite capital. Rows of them are set out in a field. Nearby, storks nest in season– they arrive in March, and by October, they’re off to Africa. The tombstone at left is likely a gladiator who converted.
St John’s is so huge that one drawing can’t possibly do it justice.Each time I’ve been there, I’ve seen something I’ve never seen before. In this drawing with cats, done near the path leading up to the Citadel, each section could be a painting all by itself. Thousands of years of history and pastoral beauty all at one gulp. With cats.