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My seven wonders, John Demetriades Biography

As an ACS student for this year I have pursued different types of learning. This involves interaction with objects of our study and an in depth search of knowledge. I have been learning how to use this knowledge to my advantage. In addition, as my grandmother is an artist and I have grown up around her work, it is very interesting to see how modern art was slowly formed by all these particles of the past. As a Humanities student I have realized that observing is not only what you see. It is the slightest details that make a difference and the past of artifacts that gives them significance in this world.

Column, Pantanassa Monastery Church, 1428, Mystra In the church of Pantanassa as I examined the room with all the frescoes I concluded that there was something that really pulled it all together and provided a sense of aesthetics and elegance. Between each and every fresco we found intricate, organic designs all around, which clearly have a decorative purpose, adding the sense of nature. The design featured leaves, arranged in geometrical patterns. These patterns reminded me of Islamic art found in mosques.

Dove, Mitropolis 1270-1290, Mystra This Ombo was a wooden structure found in the Metropolis in Mystra, were the bishop would sit. It belongs to the second story of the building and has a dove on the top part which gives it a very majestic look. I personally was intrigued by this dove form, carved in wood that in a way spread its wings covering the entire church under it. The dove was a symbol of royalty due to the Paleologue dynasty. Furthermore in Christianity, even today, it is considered a symbol of the Holy Spirit. I also connected this structure to the Minbar in Islamic religion where the leader of the prayer would stand. This is one of many similarities that gave me the impression of the great interaction that occurred between religions.

Sketch of Perivleptos, 1350, Mystra I always enjoy my quiet time for some reason. It is the one moment when I can ignore everything around me and lose myself in my thoughts. On the trip to Mystra I experienced a mystical sort of bond when we visited the Perivleptos church. During this visit we were told to take a vow of silence and observe the monument and nature. As I sat there I felt both an overwhelming and enlightening sensation. I found that the nature surrounding me brought me this very light and uplifting mood, which followed me throughout the rest of the trip. As I sat there looking at the church I could not help but capture the beutiful moment in my notebook.

Head of Medusa Sketch, Byzantine and Christian Museum, 400 AD. This sculpture is one of the many that underwent the process of Christianization. Christianization was a movement that took place during the early years of Byzantium as Constantine came to power and made Christianity the official religion. It is a part of marble slab with relief in which the head of Medusa is depicted on one side and a cross on the other side. This object struck my attention as I saw a figure of ancient Greek religion next to a Christian cross. This indicates the collaboration between the church and the ancient religion. We can see that ancient art was embraced and used to the churches advantage for its beauty, a type of exploitation of these pieces.

Floor Mosaic, Illisos Basilica, Byzantine and Christian Museum, 400 AD. This picture was taken from one of the Illisos Basilica floor mosaics. It is made from various types of stones that were stuck together in a specific way to form these ornamental designs. These tiles were very heavy, which was the reason there are no stone mosaics on the walls. This design really attracted my eye as it is very complex and has this rope-like structure as if it is wrapped around something. It is very colorful, using vibrant colors and brings out the main design of the tile.

Sketch of Astrolabe, 225 AD., Museum of Islamic Art th

Stained Glass Window, 17 century, Museum of Islamic Art This stained glass window design was in a room from Egypt th made in the 17 century. Its different colors have an enormous effect on the lighting of the room - the entire room brightens and comes to life. Using these vibrant and diverse colors a light spectrum is created. In addition, the window is shaped this way in order to reduce passage of light which I found very practical and intelligent of them. This would function as a kind of cooling mechanism, which was absolutely necessary due to the climate. The impact of the slightest window as such had a great impact on the lighting of the room and played a role in the people’s everyday life.

I have never really been intrigued by the general concept of science, but rather the causes that drive people to generate these life-changing conclusions about the general function of the universe. Arab culture very much embraced the sciences and perpetuated them to a great extent, even though the Greeks had given them the basis of their research. The Arabs were the founders of Astronomy, the study of the stars, which came as a need for navigation due to their deserted and barren landscapes. The astrolabe was a device that was used to measure distance using the stars as a guide.