Justinian paid for the building of this church. There is a new type of understanding of apse imagery.
Apse detail: Christ seated on an orb – wearing imperial dress, appearing as an emperor would. Carries in his left arm a scroll with the seven seals on it – those that are described in the book of Revelation. This represents Christ in the second coming. Tied in is the concept of Christian paradise – showing the garden represented as such. Christ hands a golden wreath to Saint Vitalis. The bishop Ecclesius is presenting a model of San Vitale. All of the figures are shown in a gold background – showing that it is not in a natural realm, but a spiritual space. This is what greatly contrasts this mosaic from others in periods before.
Comparison – Good shepherd shows atmospheric background, much more realistic, while the San Vitale shows a much more symbolic image – transcending time. Shows a new type of depicting Christ.
There are also images further down from the apse.
There are images of the emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora. He and his wife never visited the church, but sent their designs to architects to install images in the church. By representing their images, they show their imperial authority throughout all areas of the empire. The presence of their images shows the connection between church and state.
Shows the emperor leading his extended family to the altar. Image presented in a classical manner, shown in a three dimensional form. They are interacting with each other – shows how they are in church and military power.
Founded by the imperial family of Constantinople – follows the traditional basilica architecture. After the 7th and 8th centuries – this tradition fades away. Imperial art shown – imperial columns and capitals used. Apse decoration remains.
Apse decoration preserved – much more complex and symbolic. An image of Christ is replaced with a symbol – a cross, and a background of stars to symbolize the universe. Also garden imagery to symbolize Christian paradise. The hand of God is shown from heaven. The two figures flanking the cross are identified by inscriptions – Moses and Elijah, prophets from the Old Testament. The Apostles Peter, James, and John are symbolized as three sheep flanked the cross showing that they are the surviving apostles that accompany Jesus to paradise. There are a total of twelve lambs or sheep at the base, and in the center is the image of the patron Saint of the church – Sant’Apollinare. He is depicted in a gesture of prayer from that time period – rather than hands together.
Shows the transition of imageries – simple to more complex, realistic to more symbolic.
Monastic complexes become vital in this period – much art is produced here. Founded by Justinian in 565. Represents the tolerance of Muslim and Christianity together and towards each other. This monastery is located today in Muslim territory. A monastery represents a small city – completely self sufficient, had their own farmland – only relied on themselves. This becomes a important concept in the Middle Ages.
This apse was located near the sight of the transfiguration – the scene of such is shown. Christ is represnted as a human figure surrounded by the five other figures that are associated with the even: Elijah, St. Peter, St. James, Moses, and St. John. Shows a classical depictions of the figures. The image itself is reduced to even more symbolic representation of the even. Shows a hint of the landscape – the green bottom, however the background is gold, removing the figures from any realistic space. Shows the transcending of a worldly realm.
Ivory art goes all the way back to the Mid centuries – shows imageries of the emperor. Called the Barberini Ivory because it was bought by the Barberini family. Depicts the emperor Justinian riding a horse, flanked by two figures. Central image shown Justinian in a naturalistic manner in a three dimensional space. Accompanied by images of Classical art, shows a personification of the earth supporting his foot, also shows a winged figure of victory placing a wreath on his head due to his victorious deeds in battle. Below show pagans and other conquered peoples paying homage to the emperor.
Comparison of equestrian imagery and victorious. These traditions are removed from church art – shows classical style.
Originally part of two panels tied together – can see the drill holes at the top. Would have opened for a two panel display possibly in a church or statue. A typical type of construction, called a diptych. Shows the archangel Michael presenting an orb. He classically wears a toga, however, the way is occupies the space is very different. It is almost as if he is hovering over the steps he is depicted on. Denial of realistic space that shows an event that could not have taken place in reality.
2011 survey byzantium_6th_aesthetic
EarlyByzantium: changingaesthetics in art and architecture<br />
Constantinople (Istanbul), Church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), 532-537. <br />Architects: Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus<br />
San Vitale, Ravenna, 526-547<br />apse and altar<br />
Christ between two angels, Saint Vitalis and Bishop Ecclesius, apse mosaic of San Vitale, Ravenna, ca. 547<br />
Christ between two angels, Saint Vitalis and Bishop Ecclesius, <br />apse mosaic of San Vitale, Ravenna, <br />ca. 547<br />Christ as the Good Shepherd, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 425<br />
San Vitale, Ravenna, 526-547<br />apse and altar<br />
Ravenna, Church of San Vitale, mosaic panels showing Emperor Justinian (left) and his wife, Empress Theodora (below)<br />
Emperor Justinian and attendants, mosaic on north wall of the apse, San Vitale, Ravenna, ca. 547<br />Procession of the Imperial Family, AraPacisAugustae, Rome, 13 BC<br />
Church of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, 549<br />
Apse mosaic, Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, ca. 549<br />
Christ as the Good Shepherd, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 425<br />Christ between two angels, Saint Vitalis and Bishop Ecclesius, apse mosaic of San Vitale, Ravenna, ca. 547<br />Apse mosaic, Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, ca. 549<br />
Monastery of Saint Catherine, Mount Sinai, Egypt, ca. 565<br />
Transfiguration of Jesus, apse mosaic, Church at the monastery of Saint Catherine, Mount Sinai, Egypt, 565<br />
Emperor Justinian as world conqueror (Barberini Ivory), mid-6th century, ca. 1’x10”,<br />Louvre, Paris<br />
Equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Rome, ca. 175<br />Emperor Justinian as world conqueror (Barberini Ivory), mid-6th century, ca. 1’x10”,<br />Louvre, Paris<br />
Saint Michael the Archangel, right leaf of a diptych, early 6th century, Ivory, ca. 1’5”x5”,<br />British Museum, London<br />Emperor Justinian as world conqueror (Barberini Ivory), mid-6th century, ca. 1’x10”,<br />Louvre, Paris<br />