Exhibit / Paul Underwood

New Exhibit from ICFA: The Holy Apostles: Visualizing a Lost Monument

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) is proud to announce the opening of its newest exhibition!

In conjunction with the 2015 Byzantine Studies Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks, Fani Gargova and Beatrice Daskas curated “The Holy Apostles: Visualizing a Lost Monument.” The exhibition highlights drawings by Paul A. Underwood, which resulted from a project to reconstruct 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.

Partial section through the church of the Holy Apostles. Drawing by Paul A. Underwood. MS.BZ.019, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives.

Partial section through the church of the Holy Apostles. Detail from drawing by Paul A. Underwood (BF.F.1993.F2822). From the Paul A. Underwood Research Papers (ca. 1936-1950), MS.BZ.019, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives.

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 architectural historian Paul 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 describing the vanished monument. Preliminary findings were presented during the 1948 Dumbarton Oaks symposium on the same subject, but the final results were never published.

ICFA_HolyApostles_MagnetImage

Reconstruction drawing of the northern dome, church of the Holy Apostles. Drawing by Paul A. Underwood (BF.F.1993.F2812). From the Paul A. Underwood Research Papers (ca. 1936-1950), MS.BZ.019, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives.

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 Vitrine at Dumbarton Oaks from April 23 to July 20, 2015. For further exploration, we have also prepared an accompanying booklet and online exhibition (www.doaks.org/holy-apostles).

This exhibition was made possible with the kind assistance of many colleagues to whom we are very grateful: Margaret Mullett, Robert Ousterhout, Gudrun Bühl, James Carder, Colin Kelly, Renée Alfonso, John Hanson, Kathy Sparkes, Meredith Baber, Lain Wilson, Linda Lott, Megan Cook, Alan Dirican, Chris Franklin, Sarah Underwood, as well as Thomas Busciglio, ICFA’s Spring 2015 intern, and Father John, Peter Koutsandreas, Dennis Menos, and Tony Diamond of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

For a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the exhibit, which opens to the public on April 24th, see the Dumbarton Oaks Library and Archives Facebook page.

2 thoughts on “New Exhibit from ICFA: The Holy Apostles: Visualizing a Lost Monument

  1. Excellent work, you succeeded in describing the vanished monument. Continue this way, mankind needs to know its story.

  2. Pingback: Museums as Places of Storytelling | icfa

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