Jeanne Thil (French, 1887–1968)
Gouache on paper, 11 x 12 1/2 in.
Salonica is another name for Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. Thil’s view of the city is focused on the Rotunda of St. George, a large church filled with shimmering mosaics. Originally commissioned by the pagan emperor Galerius in the early 4th century AD as either a mausoleum or temple, the building was converted into a church sometime in the late 4th or early 5th century. In 1590, after the city was taken by the Ottomans, the church was repurposed again, this time transformed into the mosque of Suleyman Hortaki Effendi with a minaret added. Greeks captured the city during the Balkan war in 1912, and shortly thereafter priests converted the Rotunda back into a church, fortunately preserving the minaret. When Jeanne Thil visited this site, then, it was once again an orthodox church, which it continues to be to this day.