MOSAIC ARTIST, Italian
(active 1175-1200 in Venice)
Crossing (Ascension) cupola1175-1200
Basilica di San Marco, Venice
The subject of the mosaics in the crossing cupola is the Ascension of Christ. Seated on a gold arc of light in front of a starry sky, Christ has raised his right hand in benediction as four graceful angels carry him aloft. In a radial arrangement around this central motif the Virgin, two flanking angels, and the twelve apostles point upward. Only Mary is shown in a frontal view, even the angels are given a twisting movement, and the apostles are considerably more animated. Sixteen animated allegories of Virtues and Beatitudes appear between the windows at the bottom of the cupola. The pictorial program of the crossing cupola continues in the pendentives with the evangelists and personifications of the rivers of paradise.
There is an evident Byzantine influence in the work of the artist who guided the Venetian craftsmen in the decoration of this dome.