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Divine Spectacle: The Early Byzantine Triconch at the Red Monastery in Egypt

Agnieszka Szymanska, Temple University, Junior Fellow 2016–2017

I wrote, defended, and submitted the final draft of my doctoral dissertation. My project focuses on the Red Monastery church, an early Byzantine monument in Egypt. Between 2000 and 2015, Elizabeth S. Bolman directed a major multidisciplinary project focused on the triconch sanctuary of the Red Monastery church. Its interior elevation adopts an architectural type called multistory aedicular facades. These kinds of facades adorned elite public buildings in the eastern Mediterranean region. Bolman and Dale Kinney have substantially advanced the state of knowledge about monastic visual culture in late antique Egypt by focusing on the Red Monastery church. My dissertation builds on their conclusions. I identified sacred spectating as a different perspective from which to understand the late antique triconch at the Red Monastery. I presented my project’s main conclusions at the Middle Atlantic Symposium held on March 3–4, 2017, at the National Gallery of Art. I also gave a talk at the Byzantine Studies Conference held on October 6–9, 2017, at Cornell University.