In my final post on the Chora in Istanbul, I want to share some of my pictures showing the decorative richness of this Byzantine Church.
Even by the time that Metochites had the Church decorated in the early fourteenth century the mosaic technique must have been phenomenally expensive. Perhaps when it came to the Parecclesion, he had started to run short of money which may explain why the great depictions of the Resurrection of the Dead and the Last Judgment are executed as frescoes.
Here are some other frescoes in the Chora. First a couple of warrior saints:
A fresco of two martyrs:
In an apse there is a fresco depiction of several bishops who became saints:
In places the decoration just seems to be there for its own sake, rather to contribute to the narrative of the different thematic cycles:
The decoration unusually extends to the sculptured elements on the pediments of some of the columns:
There are also sculptured decorations over several tomb niches in the Parecclesion which appear to have been vandalised in Ottoman times, as in the following example:
Here are some full length mosaics of martyrs:
Perhaps the greatest shock about visiting the Chora comes when, having admired the wealth of decoration in the inner and outer narthexes and the Parecclesion, you come at last to the nave of the church. What could possibly exceed the artistry you have already seen? The answer is nothing, because there is very little decoration left in the nave. I have mentioned the mosaic of the Dormition of the Theotokos on the inside of the entrance to the nave. However, other than that there are just two fragmentary mosaics of the Mother of God and Christ Pantokrator:
Finally from inside one of the domes, the Theotokos with Christ: