All Art Culture

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fort Santa Cruz

Fort Santa Cruz is a fort located in Oran City, Algeria. It is one of the 3 forts of Oran City and is interconnected with the two other forts by tunnels. Fort Santa Cruz was built between 1577 and 1604 by the Spaniards. The fort is located at a height of about 400 meters on Mount Murdjadjo.

Fort Santa Cruz, Oran is one of the three forts in Oran, the second largest port city of Algeria; the other two forts are Fort de la Moune at the western end of the port and Fort St. Philippe, a replacement of the old castle of the Saints known in Spanish as Castillo de los Santos, at the centre of Oran. The three forts are connected by tunnels. Fort Santa Cruz was built between 1577 and 1604 by the Spaniards on the Pic d’Aidour above Gulf of Oran in the Mediterranean Sea, at an elevation of above 400 metres (1,312 ft). In 1831, the French occupied Oran and the fort.

A small chapel, known as the Chapel of Santa Cruz, stands close to the fort. This chapel has been refurbished with a tower, which has a huge statue of the Virgin Mary, said to be a replica of that at Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseilles, styled as Notre Dame de la Salut de Santa Cruz.,_Oran


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Studenica Monastery

The Studenica monastery is a 12th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery in Serbia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the largest and richest Serb Orthodox monasteries. The monastery is best known for its collection of 13th- and 14th century Byzantine-style fresco paintings.

The Studenica Monastery was established in the late 12th century by Stefan Nemanja, founder of the medieval Serb state, shortly after his abdication. It is the largest and richest of Serbia’s Orthodox monasteries. Its two principal monuments, the Church of the Virgin and the Church of the King, both built of white marble, enshrine priceless collections of 13th- and 14th-century Byzantine painting.

Medieval fresco from Studenica monastery


Friday, December 9, 2011

Las Lajas Sanctuary

Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church built in the most peculiar site – inside the canyon of the Guaitara River in Ipiales, Colombia. Its construction lasted for 33 years from 1916 to 1949. There was a claim that an apparition of the Virgin Mary was seen in the area. The miraculous image on the stone is still visible today.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the life of Bishop Selama

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the life of Bishop Selama, painting by an unknown artist

Height: 230 cm
Width: 180 cm

Donated by James Theodore Bent


Around AD 1855
From Tigray, Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a very long and rich tradition of painting. As early as AD 620 two wives of The Prophet Mohammed described the beauty of the murals of St Mary Zion Church at Aksum. Most painters were priests and monks who learnt the art of painting under the guidance of an experienced church artist. Their work was commissioned by wealthy Ethiopians and illustrated and explained stories from the Bible and of the lives of saints. Church art was intended to be both informative and to inspire devotion.

This painting was made for the church of the Saviour of the World at Adwa in northern Ethiopia. As with most Ethiopian church paintings we do not know the name of the artist.

The main purpose of this painting was to inspire devotion through the depiction of Christ's crucifixion. It shows several episodes from the crucifixion story as if taking place at the same time. Christ’s followers are shown at the foot of the cross with tears running down their faces. The Virgin Mary is supported by St John the Evangelist, and Mary Magdalene embraces Christ’s feet.

Near the base of the cross is the skull of Adam – according to the Bible, the first man on earth. The crucifixion took place at Golgotha, the exact place where Adam was believed to be buried. Christ’s blood pours into the skull, indicating that the blood of Christ will bring salvation to everyone.

Around the edge of the painting there are 11 smaller scenes which celebrate the life of Bishop Selama, Head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church from 1841 to 1867. The painting also depicts the coronation of Emperor Tewodros II  in 1855. Dejazmatch Wube and Biru Goshu, key political figures in the mid nineteenth-century Ethiopian politics of church and state are also shown.

Church paintings at this time were an important means of communication and observers would have been able to identify the recent events shown.

The painting was donated to the British Museum by the archaeologist James Theodore Bent in 1893 and is part of a comprehensive collection of Ethiopian material he put together while travelling in Ethiopia.

British Museum conservators have recently relined the painting and mounted it on a flat board. This helps preserve it, while a full analysis of the painting carried out by Museum scientists has allowed a greater understanding of the construction of the painting.


Painting of a Religious Procession

19th century AD, Ethiopia

Painting of a Religious Procession

Length: 79.000 cm
Width: 65.000 cm

Given by Mrs Speedy

AOA 1912,11-20,5

Room 66: Ethiopia and Egypt
'The object reminded me about a religious procession in my country. I also remembered about a story my dad told me about the cultural ceremony that his great grandparents used to do; a procession where everyone has to take part. It happened once a year. The priests carry a processional cross, sing and dance in procession to the place of worship. The only thing I don't like about the picture is the rifle. I don't know the meaning of the rifle in the picture.' Antoinette M. Kanyako, of Sierra Leonean origin

This nineteenth-century painting vividly recalls the rich pageant of religious procession in Ethiopia. It shows priests carrying hand crosses, a processional cross and a censor. They sing and dance in procession with a sacred Tabot, the symbolic representation of the biblical Ark of the Covenant. Every Ethiopian church has at least one Tabot which sanctifies the building in which it is placed. Only certain priests are allowed to see the Tabots and when they are taken outside the church to celebrate festivals they are concealed beneath richly decorated cloths, as shown here.

The painting may show the festival of Timkat, Epiphany or perhaps the feast day of St George, as the saint is represented riding above the procession on a white horse. St George is one of the most important saints in Ethiopia. Paintings of St George were taken into battle ahead of the Ethiopian army to ensure the defeat of their enemies. He is seen as a protector and was closely associated with Ethiopian royalty. The scene is completed by the image of an angel in a cloud of blue, representing the Holy Spirit and signifying the presence of God.

The painting seems to reflect the description in the Bible of King David's triumphant return with the Ark of the Covenant. Processions like this can still be seen throughout Ethiopia today.

B. Burt, Africa in the world: past and (London, British Museum Press, 2005)

J. Mack (ed.), Africa: arts and cultures (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cathedral of Saint Sava

Cathedral of Saint Sava, Belgrade, Serbia.
Temple of Saint Sava in the background of the monument to Karadjordje.

The Cathedral of Saint Sava is an Orthodox church in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, the largest in the world. The church is dedicated to Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and an important figure in medieval Serbia. It is built on the Vracar plateau, on the location where his remains are thought to have been burned in 1595 by the Ottoman Empire's Sinan Pasha. From its location, it dominates Belgrade's cityscape, and is perhaps the most monumental building in the city. The building of the church structure is being financed exclusively by donations. The parish home is nearby, as will be the planned patriarchal building.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ethiopian Illuminated Manuscript Gospel

Illuminated Gospel

Date: late 14th–early 15th century

Geography: Ethiopia, Amhara region

Culture: Amhara peoples

Medium: Parchment (vellum), wood (acacia), tempera, ink

Dimensions: H. 16 1/2 x W. 11 1/4 x D. 4 in. (41.9 x 28.6 x 10.2 cm)

Classification: Hide-Document

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1998

Accession Number: 1998.66

This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 351
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


This illuminated manuscript of the Four Gospels was created at a monastic center in northern Ethiopia. Twenty full-page paintings depict scenes from the life of Christ and four portraits of the evangelists introduce the respective Gospel texts. The New Testament was translated from Greek into Geez, the classical language of Ethiopia, in the sixth century. Both this text and its pictorial format draw upon Byzantine prototypes, which were transformed into a local idiom of expression. Stylistically consistent, the paintings reflect the hands of two distinct artists. The color scheme consists of red, yellow, green, and blue. A stylized uniformity is reflected in the abbreviated definition of facial features and the bold linear articulation of the human form in black and red. Figures' heads are depicted frontally, their bodies often in profile. Bodies are treated as columnar masses encased in textiles composed of striated fields juxtaposed against one another.

This work is evidence of sub-Saharan Africa's historically complex interrelationships with Arabia, Egypt, and the eastern Mediterranean. The origins of civilization in Highlands Ethiopia can be traced to the sixth century B.C.E., when emigrants from Arabia merged with indigenous groups to develop the kingdom of Aksum. In the fourth century C.E., scholars from Alexandria converted the Ethiopian king Ezana, and Christianity became the official religion of a state that endured until modern times. Over the centuries, as the Ethiopian state expanded, monasteries were founded as centers of learning responsible for disseminating knowledge and consolidating the power and influence of the monarchy. In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the text of the Gospels was considered the most important holy writing; the miniatures at the beginning of this manuscript were intended to be viewed during liturgical processions. Such works were frequently presented to churches by distinguished patrons; they reflected both the prestige of royal benefactors and the erudition of the monastic scriptoria in which they were created. Recent research suggests that a member of Ethiopia's ruling elite may have commissioned this manuscript at Dabra Hayg Estifanos monastery for presentation to his or her favored church or monastery. Brief notations indicate that the church in question was dedicated to the Archangel Michael.


Facebook Comments

My Blog List

Word of the Day

Quote of the Day

Article of the Day

This Day in History

Today's Birthday

In the News