Hagia Sophia, 1850-1950: Holy Wisdom Modern Monument

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University of Chicago Press, Jul 14, 2004 - Architecture - 278 pages
Hagia Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom, sits majestically atop the plateau that commands the straits separating Europe and Asia. Located near the acropolis of the ancient city of Byzantium, this unparalleled structure has enjoyed an extensive and colorful history, as it has successively been transformed into a cathedral, mosque, monument, and museum. In Hagia Sophia, 1850-1950, Robert S. Nelson explores its many lives.

Built from 532 to 537 as the Cathedral of Constantinople, Hagia Sophia was little studied and seldom recognized as a great monument of world art until the nineteenth century, and Nelson examines the causes and consequences of the building's newly elevated status during that time. He chronicles the grand dome's modern history through a vibrant cast of characters—emperors, sultans, critics, poets, archaeologists, architects, philanthropists, and religious congregations—some of whom spent years studying it, others never visiting the building. But as Nelson shows, they all had a hand in the recreation of Hagia Sophia as a modern architectural icon. By many means and for its own purposes, the West has conceptually transformed Hagia Sophia into the international symbol that it is today.

While other books have covered the architectural history of the structure, this is the first study to address its status as a modern monument. With his narrative of the building's rebirth, Nelson captures its importance for the diverse communities that shape and find meaning in Hagia Sophia. His book will resonate with cultural, architectural, and art historians as well as with those seeking to acquaint themselves with the modern life of an inspired and inspiring building.
 

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Contents

The Great Church in Ceremony and Censure
1
Prussia and France
29
John Ruskin and The Stones of Venice
51
Making a Picturesque Monument
73
William Morris W R Lethaby and Lord Curzon
105
The Byzantine Poems of W B Yeats
129
Thomas Whittemore and His American Patrons
155
Modern Sophias
187
Abbreviations List 215 Notes 217 Index
265
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Robert S. Nelson is Distinguished Professor of Art History and History of Culture at the University of Chicago as well as current chair of the Committee on the History of Culture. He is the coeditor of Critical Terms for Art History (2nd ed.), and Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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