La pittura di età paleologa a Costantinopoli: un tormentato percorso di scoperte, perdite, sparizioni e recuperi

Author: Mauro della Valle

Palaiologan painting in Costantinople: a difficult journey through discoveries, losses, disappearances and recoveries

The present paper deals with palaiologan painting in Constantinople and especially with all those witnesses that have surfaced in the last century, have been published, not always with illustrations, and have subsequently disappeared from our view. And this for many reasons; they have been destroyed, hidden in museum storages, plastered over and so on. At the beginning of the 20th century almost only the mosaics of the Chora Museum were known, then we added the Pammakaristos Museum, and, later on, those in the Hagia Sophia Museum, first of all the great Deesis in the south gallery, later on those on the eastern arch and the angel on the pendentif. But many others have been discovered and then lost, or at least are no longer visible. For example, Hagia Euphemia in the Hippodrome, the paintings are still there but closed in a hut; Vefa Kilise Camii, the mosaics are still there but sadly plastered, and so on. Sometimes they appear again, as is the case of the fresco of Etyemez, published by Dirimtekin in 1958 and then presumably kept in the Hagia Sophia but never seen until its sudden resurfacing in the small book of Yücel in 1988. For these reasons I evoked the Kingdom of the Shadows, highpoint of the great classical ballet of the romantic era. But, ultimately, the aim of the paper is to keep knowledge and memory alive.