The Red Monastery Church: Its Significance and Conservation

Professor Bolman will be presenting a lecture hosted by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens!
The remarkable Red Monastery Church, located in the Egyptian desert, surprises us. It is not in a city, or even near one. What is it doing, in its isolated environment? The church is a monumental basilica with an elaborate tri-lobed sanctuary, which belongs to a tradition of elite urban architecture. The interior of the eastern end includes the best preserved example of architectural polychromy in paint – tempera and encaustic on architectural elements – that survives on a large scale from the Greek, Roman and early Byzantine periods. This talk will elucidate the significance of the monument and its location, and use it as a means of exploring how we think about the creation of culture in the early Byzantine world. The remarkable conservation project that took well over a decade will also be discussed.