Deesis Mosaics in Hagia Sophia

Deesis Mosaics of Mother Marry, Jesus and John the Baptist in Hagia Sophia.
Mother Marry, Jesus and John the Baptist

What is Deesis?

Deesis is a mosaic type which is used to describe Jesus Christ, Virgin Marry (as a mother goddess figure) and John the Baptist in Byzantium and eastern orthodox art. Virgin Marry and John stands on two sides of Jesus Christ and open their hands toward him in paintings. One of these compositions is on the western wall of Northern Gallery. For that one, all figures described have the characteristics of Hellenistic Era. To make a deesis composition, mosaic techniques are obliged to be used. Many types of colorful pieces are set together to create the image. Techniques of these portrayals are also relevant to the features of ancient era painting in the art of East Rome. Besides the deesis which is exhibited in the Northern Gallery, Jesus Christ generally holds a book in his hand which refers to the Holy Bible. In some other concepts, Jesus sits on a throne which possibly makes a reference of his sacred being. In addition, it may also refers to his well know title ‘King of the Jews’ which was written in the New Testament, given by Pontius Pilate the fifth roman governor of Judaea, and whose the order of crucifixion for Jesus. In this kind of concepts, John and Virgin Marry were being portrayed while they remain standing and their faces are towards the Jesus. In many of these compositions, the book in Jesus holds is closed. However, there are some portraits which the book was depicted open. Some of these artworks contain the famous word of Jesus Christ, written in latin; “Ego sum via et veritos et vita.” which means “I am the way and the truth and the life.” in english.

Extraordinary Representations

Archangel Gabriel depictions are frequent elements which could be seen as a companion to Jesus and Marry in some deesis. Considering Byzantium art, deesis mosaics were perfect tools for a few blue bloods like Emperor John Comnenus II whose a depiction in the deesis in Hagia Sophia. John Comnenus II is holding a purse of coin in his hand in the fresco to make a donation to the church in order to show his generosity. Likewise her husband, Saint Irene of Hungary who was the Byzantium Queen and wife of John Comnenus II holds a scroll to donate to the church while her husband is being blessed by the right hand of baby depiction of Jesus Christ in Marry’s arms. Besides showing the couple’s generosity, this description is also used for blessing the marriage between them politically in order to make the relation between two countries better. Same perspective is exactly valid for another deesis which is a depiction of Emperor Constantine IX and Queen Zoe of Byzantium as well.

Rome Emporor John Comnenus II and his wife Queen Irene with Mother Mary and baby Jesus.
Mary, Jesus, Emperor John Comnenus II 
and Queen Irene
Rome Emporor Constantine IX and his wife Queen Zoe are depicted with Jesus Christ.
Jesus, Emperor Constantine IX 
and Queen Zoe

Deesis Mosaics in Hagia Sophia Deesis Mosaics in Hagia Sophia Reviewed by Articonog on December 23, 2019 Rating: 5

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