Byzantine Sacred Art on Display through Sept. 16
Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Vaults of Heaven: Visions of Byzantium,” on view now through September 16. This photography exhibition features the splendor of Byzantine sacred art, preserved in early Christian churches in both Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of the Byzantine Empire and the Cappadocia region of Turkey.
The exhibit features eight large-scale works by innovative, acclaimed Turkish photographer Ahmet Ertug. The exhibition documents the interiors of four churches — the Karankik Kilise (Dark Church), the New Church of Tokali (Buckle Church) and the Meryem Ana Kilisesi (Church of the Mother of God) in Cappadocia and the Church of Christ of Chora (Kariye Camii) in Istanbul — each more than 900 years old.
The collection includes images of the dramatic church interiors and close-up views of elaborate wall paintings and mosaics depicting scenes from the life of Christ and images of saints. Ertug’s descriptive, detailed photographs capture the evocative mystery and grandeur of these ancient structures, all designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Ahmet Ertug is a 1974 graduate of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, who has practiced architecture in England, Iran and Turkey. His commitment to photography started with a yearlong fellowship to study architecture in Japan, where he traveled extensively and photographed ancient temples, Zen gardens and festivals.
Returning to his native country, Ertug came to a realization: "The foundation of creativity is the profound knowledge of one's heritage." He has photographed much of Istanbul's impressive Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman remains, using a large-format camera that has enabled him to capture their full splendor. Over the past three decades, he has produced 25 acclaimed books of his photographs. Ertug’s work has been exhibited around the world. A permanent exhibition of his photographs is on display in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
“Vaults of Heaven: Visions of Byzantium” was organized by the Penn Museum and generous support for the exhibition has been provided by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation. For Museum hours, visit the website and check for upcoming programming scheduled for this fall.