Chora Monastery

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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…
Chora Monastery, which was dedicated to Jesus Christ, is the existence of a very old religious complex here is generally accepted due to the old Greek word “Chora” which means “suburb”. It can be because the site of Chora lay outside the fourth-century city of Constantine but was enclosed by the Land Walls built by Theodosius II in the early fifth century, located near the Adrianople Gate. The meaning of the word can also be translated as “dwelling-place” or “container” because Christ is identified as ‘land, dwelling place of the living’ and the Virgin as ‘container of the uncontainable’ in the decoration. It was known that there was a chapel outside the city walls of Constantinople during the 5th century. Chora was replaced with this chapel by Justinianos I during 527-65. In the Komnenian Period, because it was close to the Blakhernai Palace, the church was used as the palace chapel for the important religious ceremonies. During the Latin invasion (1204-1261) this church were also destroyed and was repaired by the Treasury Minister Theodoros Metokhites during the period of Andronicus II (1282-1328). He made an addition to the north, an esonarthex to the west, and a chapel (Parekklesion) to the south of the church and decorated it with mosaics and frescoes. After the conquer of Constantinople in 1453, this building was used as a church, but Vezir Hadım Ali…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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