A history and contemporary cultural commentary by author and traveler Clement. The history includes extensive quotations from other sources, which Clement wove together with her own observations and romantic commentary. After recounting the history of the city from 324 to 1895, Clement includes descriptions of St. Sophia, the antiquities of the city, shops and bazaars, the habits of Turkish ladies (probably upper- and middle-class women), funeral customs, birth, circumcision, marriage customs, "superstitions" and other Islam-specific cultural practices, and finally a chapter on contemporary education.
This superb book, originally published in 1899, has been completely reset for this new edition. Whether it be at the Louvre or a thousand museums, churches or shrines, visitors cannot escape being struck by the presence of the saints in the pictures. But why are they there and what does the presence of this or that saint mean to the viewer? What was the artist attempting to convey? Ms. Clement brings to life both historical and devotional pictures, explaining what the saint's presence brings to the pictures, be it scriptural or legendary. She paints a picture with words which readers find enlightening in the broadest sense. Light is shed on the meaning of the presence of a single saint in a picture versus a group of saints. What was the intention of the artist? To convey charity, benevolence, love of God, piety or certain miracles? In an age when Madison avenue cravens attack our senses with visual commercials on almost everything our eyes fall upon, it is refreshing to read that there are pictures which call for our contemplation and not our money.
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