Istanbul, Hagia Sophia, sixth-century gold mosaics

Also known as The Justinianic mosaics
Era 6AD
Location Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

There is a huge amount of gold mosaic throughout Hagia Sophia (and a lot of yellow paint either covering or replacing yet more). Much of it dates to the sixth century and the rebuildings of the church by the emperor Justinian.. A whole variety of non-figural images are used: the cross is the most popular, but there are a range of other motifs from stars to fantastic spiders' webs (often using a lot of silver - for example, in the south gallery) or odd things that look a bit like Easter eggs (look in the vault of the inner narthex ), and formal patterns like Greek key and stepped patterns and grids of zig-zag shapes knotting themselves across the gold background. . There are carpet-like decorations in gold and especially silver in some of the barrel vaults , for example those that burrow in to the south-western buttress piers In the centre of the dome is the name of Allah, put there WHEN. What's beneath it is a subject of controversy since no-one knows. Some believe that Justinian had a huge cross placed in the dome; others that it was an image of Christ. These mosaics are all made from glass and the colours are few - gold, silver, blue, green and red.. EXPLAIN PAINT AND CROSSES BELOW


It's not easy to tell later restorations in the gold mosaics from the floor of the church: the key differences are in size and setting between the tesserae. The sixth-century gold is better {SAY MORE}

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