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St. Sophia :: Portraits of Angels on the Arch of the B

Portraits of Angels on the Arch of the B

On the two sides of the big cradled vault in front of the apse, there are two portraits of angels facing each other. On the right, the archangel Gabriel is portrayed with wings. Contrary to the Archangel portrait on the rJght, which is fairly well-preserved, on the left the portrait is very fragmentary, only the tip of a wing of archangel Michael has survived. These angel figures have also been made on a golden background.

The figure of Gabriel is seen standing and tips of his wings hanging down. Gabriel is clad in a ceromonial robe typical of those notables of the Byzantine court. His inner garments is of a dark colour and the skirts of which are embroidered with silver, arid the loose cap on top is ornamented with a wide band of golden embroidery .This is an attire of emperors or palace officials. He is seen holding a globe in his left hand and a sceptre in his right hand.

A great deal of painstaking care has been shown to portray the beautiful face of the archangel, whose hair are tied with a piece of ribbon. It is estimated that these archangel mosaics were made just after the Virgin Mary mosaics in the half dome of the apse, that is to say, towards the end of the Ninth Century


Above text and pictures are from the book titled "Hagia Sophia".

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