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by:Heng Xing     2020-08-23

There is only a 'Communion of the Apostles' within the apse of the cathedral of Serres. The dome of the Hagia Sophia Church in Thessaloniki is embellished with an Ascension mosaic (c. 885). The composition resembles the good baptistries in Ravenna, with apostles standing between palms and Christ in the middle.

There had been similar crosses in the apses of the Hagia Sophia Church in Thessaloniki and within the Church of the Dormition in Nicaea. The crosses were substituted with the image of the Theotokos in both churches after the victory of the Iconodules (787–797 and in 8th–9th centuries respectively, the Dormition church was completely destroyed in 1922).

It should be a lifelike portrayal as a result of Eirene was really a redhead as her unique Hungarian name, Piroska reveals. The adjoining portrait of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos on a pier (from 1122) is similarly personal. The imperial mausoleum of the Komnenos dynasty, the Pantokrator Monastery was certainly embellished with great mosaics but these have been later destroyed. The lack of Komnenian mosaics outside the capital is much more apparent.

The Pammakaristos Monastery was restored by Michael Glabas, an imperial official, in the late thirteenth century. Only the mosaic ornament of the small burial chapel (parekklesion) of Glabas survived. This domed chapel was constructed by his widow, Martha round 1304–08. In the miniature dome the normal Pantokrator could be seen with twelve prophets beneath.

The scheme is somewhat unusual as the usual post-Iconoclastic method for domes contained only the picture of the Pantokrator. An fascinating set of Macedonian-era mosaics make up the ornament of the Hosios Loukas Monastery. In the narthex there's the Crucifixion, the Pantokrator and the Anastasis above the doors, while in the church the Theotokos (apse), Pentecost, scenes from Christ's life and ermit St Loukas (all executed before 1048). The scenes are handled with a minimum of element and the panels are dominated with the gold setting.

In the Iconoclastic era, figural mosaics had been also condemned as idolatry. The Iconoclastic church buildings have been embellished with plain gold mosaics with just one nice cross within the apse like the Hagia Irene in Constantinople (after 740).

The Hagia Sophia Deesis might be probably the most famous Byzantine mosaic in Constantinople. There are very few present mosaics from the Komnenian period however this paucity must be due to accidents of survival and gives a deceptive impression. The solely surviving twelfth-century mosaic work in Constantinople is a panel in Hagia Sophia depicting Emperor John II and Empress Eirene with the Theotokos (1122–34). The empress along with her long braided hair and rosy cheeks is particularly capturing.

Unusually the apse is decorated with a Deesis, probably due to the funerary perform of the chapel. The sack of Constantinople in 1204 brought on the decline of mosaic art for the subsequent five decades. After the reconquest of town by Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261 the Hagia Sophia was restored and a wonderful new Deesis was made on the south gallery. This big mosaic panel with figures two and a half instances lifesize is actually overwhelming as a result of its grand scale and superlative craftsmanship.
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