PEELING TROMPE L’OEIL

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THE FOSSATI BROTHERS The far right arch in these photos is  trompe l’oeil from the Fossati Brothers, Swiss architects hired in 1841 by Sultan Abdulmedjid to do a restoration. They did clean everything. That’s their yellow paint job peeling off the upper walls, trying to match the original gold mosaic below, and their daubed fake marble at lower left, and all over the basilica.

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The surviving mosaic Angel face.

The Fossati Brothers found the Angel face plastered over. They carefully documented it, drew it, and according to Islam’s proscription on faces, covered it up with a medallion like the ones still on the other three.

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Our angel is on the northeastern pendentive-top left in the photo above. The ones to the west-at bottom- are trompe l’oeil to match the mosaic ones to the east. The southeastern medallion may have a face under it. I sure wish I knew.

Guards at Ayasofya ©2012 Trici Venola
Guards at Ayasofya ©2012 Trici Venola

Here are more faces from Hagia Sophia’s wonderful security staff. I drew each one at different times and separated them for gift prints to present to each one. If you are going to spend any time drawing monuments, be nice to the guards.

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Worlds Collide in Hagia Sophia: Next: EMPRESS IRENE & THE ICONOCLASTS

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