Drawing | Photographing the walls of Constantinople

Drawing | Photographing the walls of Constantinople

April 5 - June 30, 2024
Opening on Friday 5 April at 19:00.
It can be visited every week on Friday-Saturday between 14:30-17:30.
For private bookings please email (info@senpiyer.org)

The exhibition focuses on the curators’ decades of work on the walls of Constantinople/Istanbul, through a dual conceptual and methodological, historical and contemporary approach: on the one hand, the image and iconography of the imposing city walls, built to give topographical and geographical identity, as well as protection, to a place (and a population) – that is, the images of the city walls drawn by numerous travellers, artists and scholars – on the other hand, the modern perception of what we call “memory” or “ruins”, formulated through the contemporary photographic lens of Domenico Ventura.  

The juxtaposition is intended to reflect on how the approach to monumental works that once constituted the ‘unified’ visual backdrop of a place, as well as being the subject of a specific literary and anecdotal narrative, has changed: from the picturesque promenades, to cahier de voyage or even historical restorations and the frequent wounds caused by earthquakes or the emblematic taking of Constantinople. 

Walls constitute a “threshold” – sometimes even allegorical and symbolic – that still today attempts to “enclose”, or “exclude by delimiting” a specific reality (a people? or many peoples?) without succeeding. The boundaries of the walls have been surpassed (and indeed wounded) in monumentality and extension.

Among the images on display, there are some shots dedicated to the Galata’ walls and the close relationship of the Dominican convent of Saints Peter and Paul – the exhibition venue – built adjacent to one of the sides of the Genoese walls that run along the hill of the Pera promontory. A presence that encloses and protects a place that was already the hortus conclusus of the Latin world.

Domenico Ventura

After graduating in Medieval and Byzantine Art History, Domenico Ventura specialised in the photographic documentation of works of art, carrying out photographic campaigns for scientific publications, exhibition catalogues, restoration sites and archaeological excavations in Italy and abroad. He also devotes himself to personal documentary photography projects and has participated in several exhibitions.

Silvia Pedone

An art historian and Byzantinist, she is a member of DoSt-I and collaborates with this institute in the organisation of cultural events and conferences on art-historical topics that focus on the city of Constantinople and its monuments. She has taught Byzantine art history at the Universities of Urbino and Viterbo and currently works at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome.

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