Mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome (completed 1296)
by Jacopo TORRITI

According to tradition, Pope Liberius (pope from 352 to 366) and a patrician had the same dream at the same night. The Virgin appeared and expressed her wish to raise a church at the site which she will mark by snow at the middle of the summer. Next day the Esquiline hill was covered by snow and it became the site of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore.

The Early Christian church was erected by Pope Sixtus III (432-440) and its mosaic decoration in the nave and the apse also date from this period. The Early Christian apse mosaic has been lost, having been replaced by the one by Jacopo Torriti during a redesign of the entire choir area under Pope Nicholas IV (1288-1292) who commissioned the replacement without entirely changing the original subject matter.

The commission for the new apse mosaic was given to Jacopo Torriti, who left the Lateran workshop around 1291 to assist the work at Santa Maria Maggiore. The main subject of the mosaic is the Coronation of the Virgin, with five scenes from the life of Mary beneath if: the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Kings, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Dormition. The latter, interrupting the chronological sequence of the events, occupies the centre compartment, which places it in a direct relationship to the Coronation in form and content.

The subject of the Coronation of the Virgin as linked to her physical resurrection had already been popular north of the Alps as early as the twelfth century. In Italy, however, it found its first inclusion in monumental art in Torriti's mosaic, and it had never before been pictured with such splendour.

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Apse mosaic: Coronation of the Virgin
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1100*804
True Color
282 Kb



Apse mosaic: Coronation of the Virgin
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1147*800
True Color
236 Kb



Apse mosaic: Coronation of the Virgin
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1200*808
True Color
263 Kb



Apse mosaic: Coronation of the Virgin
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1030*664
True Color
181 Kb



View of the apse calotte
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1001*908
True Color
191 Kb



Coronation of the Virgin
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

850*1021
True Color
300 Kb



Coronation of the Virgin (detail)
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

800*1013
True Color
287 Kb



Apse mosaic (detail)
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1073*900
True Color
332 Kb



Apse mosaic (detail)
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1080*900
True Color
311 Kb



Apse mosaic, window level: 1. Annunciation
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1105*900
True Color
319 Kb



Apse mosaic, window level: 2. Nativity
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1100*850
True Color
307 Kb



Apse mosaic, window level: 3. Adoration of the Kings
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1037*900
True Color
308 Kb



Apse mosaic, window level: 4. Presentation in the Temple
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1021*900
True Color
317 Kb



Apse mosaic, window level: 5. Dormition
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1257*700
True Color
317 Kb



Apse mosaic, window level: Dormition (detail)
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

957*1000
True Color
331 Kb



Apse mosaic, window level: Dormition (detail)
1296 (completed)
Mosaic
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

1062*900
True Color
342 Kb




Works by Jacopo Torriti
| Mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore | Other works (mainly frescoes) |
***
Summary of Italian mosaics
Mosaics in Rome
San Clemente | Santa Maria in Trastevere | Santa Maria Maggiore
Mosaics in Sicily
Cathedral of Cefalů | Cappella Palatina, Palermo | Cathedral of Monreale
Mosaics in Venice
Basilica di San Marco
Mosaics in Florence
Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery)
Other mosaics
11th-12th centuries | 13th-14th centuries
Mosaicists
RUSUTI, Filippo | TORRITI, Jacopo | CAVALLINI, Pietro
CIMABUE | GIOTTO | GIAMBONO, Michele | ANDREA DEL CASTAGNO