Chora Analysis

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The main church of the Chora Monastery, also known as Kariye museum or as Kariye Camii traditionally, represents one of the most important and oldest religious structures of East Roman art with its architecture, mosaics and frescoes. The reputation of Chora, comes after the Justinian’s Great Church, attracts increasing number of tourists every year because of its splendid mosaic and fresco decoration. The decoration and the restoration of the monastery, which dates from ca. 1316 to 1321, contain the versatility and the great skill of Byzantine artists. From the later Byzantine period, fresco painting displays much about the mobility of artistic techniques and styles. A very interesting feature of the design, which is the glamorous mixture…show more content…
The frescoes and mosaics of Chora are the best examples of last scene of Byzantine pictorial art in the 14th century. The dept in the vision, the way to give the movement and plastic value of the figures, elongation in the figures are the styles of this period. The church originally included the Infancy and Ministry of Christ and an broad cycle of the Life of the Virgin. One of the curious features of the mosaics and frescoes of the Chora is the little ‘tail like’ drapery with its upturned end, almost like a hook and it brings mind a personal signature. It can be interesting to claim that the artist of all of these scenes was probably the same person and he wanted to leave his signature on his work. In late Byzantine church decorations, the placing of the two ‘princes’ of the apostles, St. Peter (inner narthex, left side of the door) and St. Paul (right side of the door, inner narthex), is frequently encountered at each side of the door to the nave. While St. Peter is holding his epistles, St. Paul holds two keys, ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven’. In my opinion, St. Peter is given more honored position by being placed to the right of the figure of…show more content…
“Christ is sitting on a rich and jeweled throne in the scene which is over the entrance door opening to the central hall. Metokhites kneels down before him holding a model of the church”. The design of the mosaics’ position gives the Byzantine tradition of putting the donor image above the entrance to the nave. Metokhites was drawn traditionally without any references to his real physique. Christ looks familiar in his image, but Metokhites wears a dress like a ‘kaftan’, and a fashionable hat which brings to mind a ‘turban’. The model church in his hands is a simplified version of Chora without parecclesion. He gives the impression of being squeezed into the left corner which gives the sense of lack of balance can be the artist’s mistake. This tendency of asymmetry and imbalance is evident in many panels of the Chora. It is also one of the obvious artistic features of the last decades of Byzantine art. “Metokhites explained the main purpose of the decoration of the church as relating ‘in mosaics and painting, how the Lord Himself… became a mortal man on our behalf.’” Thus, he gives a clue to the iconographic program of the decoration of the Chora. This, except from a few points, is on the whole conservative. For him, there was one area in which not only originality, but even involvement was to be avoided: the area of
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