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New Exhibit from ICFA

Posted On May 19, 2015 | 10:58 am | by meredithb | Permalink
The Holy Apostles: Visualizing a Lost Monument

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, in conjunction with the 2015 Byzantine Studies Symposium, presents The Holy Apostles: Visualizing a Lost Monument. The exhibition highlights drawings by architectural historian Paul A. Underwood from a project that reconstructed the lost church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. The drawings were recently conserved at Harvard Library’s Weissman Preservation Center and are displayed with related archival materials, all from ICFA’s collections.

In 1945, art historian Albert M. Friend initiated a project to visually reconstruct the church of the Holy Apostles, which was destroyed after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The project team included Underwood and philologist Glanville Downey. Their sketches, notes, and large-scale architectural drawings illustrate the scholars’ working methods and the nature of their interdisciplinary work, using both primary sources and comparisons with preserved sites. The goal of the project was a comprehensive publication on the Holy Apostles that would present the architecture, mosaic decoration, and relevant texts that describe the vanished monument. Preliminary findings were presented during a 1948 Dumbarton Oaks symposium on the church, but the final results were never published.

With this exhibition, ICFA aims to draw greater attention to this collaborative scholarly project initiated in the early years of Dumbarton Oaks. The exhibition will be on view in the Orientation Gallery and the Bliss Gallery from April 24 to July 20, 2015.

For a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the exhibit, see the Dumbarton Oaks Library and Archives Facebook page.