Abstract: The Mosaic of the Transfiguration in the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai

Lecturer: Roberto Nardi

The mosaic of the Transfiguration covers a surface of 46 square meters in the basilica of the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai. Done in the 6th century at the behest of the emperor Justinian, it has a rich chromatic range of glass paste, glass, gold and silver tesserae and tesserae in stone.  The mosaic is a jewel of early Byzantine art. Over the centuries, it has suffered extensive damage due to earthquakes and intense visitation by pilgrims from all corners of the world.  Some of the signs of deterioration were detachment of the preparatory layer from the wall, bulges in the mosaic surface, and lacunae (gaps) in the tesselatum. The area of Christ was so badly decayed that the mosaic was close to collapse, as an article of Kurt Weizman on the National Geographic reported in 1964. These problems led the monastic community to undertake a delicate program of consolidating and conserving the mosaic, and the CCA, Center for Archaeological Conservation, Rome, was asked to do the restoration. 
The work began in 2005, thanks to financing from the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, following a project plan the CCA developed in 2001 for the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). The project was completed on April 2010.

More at www.ccaroma.org

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Drew Wilburn is Associate Professor of Classics and Archaeological Studies at Oberlin College, and holds degrees from the University of Michigan (Ph.D.), the University of Maryland, and Randolph... Read More

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