– E. Byzantine art/architecture


Hagia Sophia was built during the reign of the Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Justinian but the patriarchal cathedral his “architects” designed was so extraordinary – it was one of the few Christian churches not only saved – but glorified and transformed by the Ottoman Turks. In this assignment you will explore the way in which Hagia Sophia’s design allowed it to function as both a church and a mosque and consider the variations to interior and exterior ornament that accompanied that transformation. In addition, you will consider how form/design is reflective of the cultural forces that shape not only history – but the art and architecture of a period. Use this web link  (Links to an external site.)   to watch two podcasts on Hagia Sophia; under Byzantine Art, Constantinople & the East, select Hagia Sophia, Istanbul and then Hagia Sophia as a mosque. After watching these podcasts, (in conjunction with your reading), answer the questions below. 1. The E. Byzantine design for Hagia Sophia is based on a Roman basilica but an extraordinary one. Explain. What is distinctive or unusual about its design? What role does mass (material) play? Space/volume? Light? Ornament? 2. What is a pendentive dome? How is it different from previous Roman domes such as the dome of the Pantheon? How might this feature contribute to the overall aesthetics (way form communicates) and symbolism of this structure? 3. Who is Justinian? What are the Nika Riots? What circumstances lead to the rebuilding of this structure by Justinian and why would it be essential to him to rebuild the church?   4.  Hagia Sophia was an E. Byzantine patriarchal church; what does that mean? How is the building an expression of the relationship between the empire and the church?  5. In 1453, Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks and Hagia Sophia is modified to become an Islamic mosque. What new features were added? How was the building changed? What formal (aesthetic) as well as symbolic reasons might the Turks have had for preserving and transforming Hagia Sophia into a mosque?


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