Santa Maria Assunta

Santa Maria Assunta, Palermo, Sicily is located on a site first used for worship in Roman times. That Roman temple was replaced by a basilica during the era of Constantine. This structure was later destroyed by the Vandals, before being rebuilt at the end of the 7th century. With the arrival of the Arabs in Sicily the building was remodeled and repurposed as the main mosque of Palermo. 200 years later, with the Norman Conquest of Sicily, it was rebuilt yet again as a cathedral, using the mosque’s stones as raw materials, and employing local Arab citizens as designers, builders and fine craftworkers.

For the 15th drawing in the Anastylosis Project I chose to draw the apse end of the cathedral, as it represents most clearly, the interplay of Norman elements with the exquisite design and realization of its decorative program by the Arab workers.

Sicily, as crossroads, is a visual cornucopia of diverse influences. I look forward to more projects based on this rich mixture.