Image from page 142 of "Architecture for general students" (1874)
Authors: Horton, Caroline W
Contributing Library: New York Public Library
Digitizing Sponsor: MSN
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. Sophiadiffers essentially from that of the old basilica.The nave, or central aisle, has the form of an ob-long oval, terminating at one end in a large apsisand two smaller side apsides, connected with it,while the opposite end opens into an outer porticoor entrance-hall, extending along the whole facade.On each side of this main entrance are circular re-cesses corresponding to the side apsides. At the fourcorners of the central quadratic space thus formed,are built up strong pillars of masonry w^oik, sup-porting four grand arches. Upon these rests anentablature, from which springs the dome, one hun-dred and six feet in diameter, but rather shallow,being the smaller segment of a sphere. This quad-ratic space opens into the side aisles by a contin-uous arcade supporting the lofty side-walls. Thetwo half circles, one on either side of the square,are roofed by semi-domes, resting upon piers, twoof which are connected with those of the maindome, while two others are built at the termina-
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INMLklOROt ST. SOPIIM vi cOi> ^ i a.n i iM ,PLE THE NEW V ASrOR, LENOX ANDJIl£fNFOUNDAT,ON3, Early Christian Art. 127 tion of the side apsides and recesses. On account ofthe projecting counterforts, necessary to strengthenthe piers, the side aisles have not the continuity ofbasilica-aisles, but appear to be formed of severaldistinct departments connected by arched passage-ways. Galleries for the women were placed abovethem, and these opened into the central aisle bycolonnades. Lubke says of the interior decora-tion ; All the surfaces of the walls and pillars,even to the cornices, were covered with costly,many colored marbles \ the choicest remains fromthe temples of Asia Minor were selected for thecolumns; the vaulted roofs, the dome, semi-dome,and apsides, had a brilliant ground of gold mosaicsset in colored ornamental frames, and interwovenlike tapestry with figurative representations, the col-oring of which stood out strongly from the goldenground. Add to this the rail and colu
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