From Theodore Metochites to Thomas Whittemore - One Monument, Two Monumental Personalities
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The former church of the monastery of Christ of the Chora, better known today as the Kariye Camisi or Kariye Museum, is one of the most impressive Byzantine monuments to survive in the modern city of Istanbul. Founded probably as early as the sixth century, rebuilt by members of the imperial family in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, and splendidly restored by the Byzantine humanist, poet, and prime minister Theodore Metochites between 1316 and 1321, the church of the Chora Monastery is today considered one of the most outstanding examples of Late Byzantine art and architecture to survive. While the building itself was already known as the ‘Mosaic Mosque' during the nineteenth century, the fame of the church's rich and complex interior decoration rests by and large on an extensive restoration campaign initiated by the American scholar and philanthropist Thomas Whittemore, founder and director of the Byzantine Institute of America from 1930 to his death in 1950. It is the aim of this catalogue, to explore the history of the “Kariye” through its representation over the centuries, and to pay homage to the two men who were responsible for its restoration and conservation in the fourteenth and twentieth centuries respectively: Theodore Metochites and Thomas Whittemore. The catalogue furthermore aims to celebrate the work of those who have helped to preserve the architecture of the Kariye and its extraordinary cycle of mosaics and frescoes during the 1940s and 1950s. The catalogue includes the manuscript of Theodoros Metokhites, archaeological artifacts unearthed during excavations in Chora, and numerous archival documents and photographs describing the process of repairing the unique mosaics and frescoes of Chora by Thomas Whittemore and the American Byzantine Institute.

Date of Publication: November 2010 (2nd Edition)
Number of pages: 345
ISBN: 978-975-9123-345

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