Intérieur de l'Eglise Arménienne – Interior of the Armenian church

Accession Number

Intérieur de l'Eglise Arménienne – Interior of the Armenian church

Felix Bonfils

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1867-1885

Medium & Support
albumen print on paper

14 in x 10 15/16 in (35.56 cm x 27.78 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Margaret and Howard Bond

Subject matter
The image of the sanctuary of Saint James Cathedral (labeled here as the “Armenian Church”) in Jerusalem exudes a sense of horror vacui (fear of empty space) as almost every discernible surface within the photograph is covered by exquisitely carved, painted, or cast detail-work. A low-hanging, endlessly sumptuous, crystal chandelier provides the center of focus for the image as it reigns over the dozens of smaller hanging lamps and other ornamental pendants. The low-angle of the camera provides a eye-level view of the altar, though the ceiling (from which the chandelier and lamps are suspended either by rope or chain) is completely obscured. The suffusion of ornament generally obfuscates much of the building’s architectural structure. This image is one of hundreds of photographs made throughout Bonfils's career which purport to document various landscapes, cityscapes, and people of the eastern Mediterranean.

Physical Description
This photograph shows an interior view of a highly decorated religious building. A chandelier and various other hanging lamps fill the upper register of the image. Other architectural elements in the picture, including the floor, the walls, a railing, the altar, and other shrines, all appear covered in intricate foliate designs.   

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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altars (religious fixtures)
chandeliers (hanging lights)
churches (buildings)
hanging lamps
interior views
travel photography

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted