Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mrs. Brown and Istanbul

Three art class friends: Dave "Les" Johnson, me, Don "TB" Johnson circa 1975. Note the book to the right of Don!

There's a college teacher from my past that I wish I could go back to thank for her wonderful intro to Constantinople /Istanbul.  Mrs. Brown was an adjunct in the Art Department at North Park College who taught Art History;  world traveller extraordinaire. She changed the way I thought about history by way of passion for the art that was created during the making of history.

This was our textbook.
Never before did I actually wear out a textbook!

Imagine my delight in seeing some of the places I had studied in this textbook while on our recent trip to Istanbul:

Like Haghia Sophia (Ayasofya) "The Church of Holy Wisdom"
It is more than 1,400 years old with a long history including a devastating fire, earthquakes and a tenure as a mosque.
The interior Of Haghia Sophia is breath-taking.


Again I will refer to my textbook for another look at the treasures inside:
The mosaics.
Many were uncovered only in recent years.

Mrs. Brown also taught us about the Basilica Cistern nearby dating from the reign of Justinian 1 in the 6th century.

A marble Medusa head is one of two column bases in the cistern.  She's upside did that happen?
Finally, I take you to to the Hippodrome. Here in the heart of the Byzantine city of Constantinople a gigantic stadium was laid out by Emperor Septimus Severus during the rebuilding of the city in 3rd century BC. It is thought that the stadium held up to 100,000 people; the road running around the square seems to follow a track made for chariot racing. Now little remains of the Hippodrome glory and splendor (and horror) except for the Egyptian Obelisk, the Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus and base of the Serpentine Column.
Here Leonardo stands at the base of the Hippodrome. It is believed that this carved monument is only 1/3 of its original height.

Forever I will be grateful to Mrs. Brown for introducing me to the history of art.
If you know anything about her - including her first name- please let me know.
She is not to be found in any of my yearbooks.  Or in a Google search.

Here seems to be the only place to give a huge THANK YOU for the
difference she made in my life!