05 April 2010

An Art Historical Tour of Istanbul’s Quakes

Today's New York Times profiles some of the great historical earthquake images (1200s-1900s) in UC Berkeley's Kozak Collection with a slide show from Istanbul and environs (see the full Times gallery here.)

Anonymous woodcut depicting the Sea of Marmara earthquake of 1509, the "lesser judgment day". It registered about 7.2 and killed about 10,000 people. There's something appropriate about the scale: the people are reproduced at the same size as the buildings, as if to convey that life is just as important as property.
(Reproduced in N.N. Ambraseys and C.F. Finkel, 'The Marmara Sea Earthquake of 1509'. Terra Nova, 2:2, 1990, pp. 167-174.)

An 1894 xylograph from the Kozak Collection, showing damage to the city walls of Istanbul. Parts of the walls still look much like this today - except where they have been "Disneyfied" by the heavy-handed reconstructions that earned the walls a place on the World Monuments Fund's 2008 Watch List.

Check out the rest!

H/T to Diana Wright, via H-TURK.

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