MOSAIC ARTIST, Italian
(active 817-824 in Rome)
Santa Prassede, Rome
The Basilica of Saint Praxedes, commonly known in Italian as Santa Prassede, was commissioned by Pope Hadrian I around the year 780, and built on top of the remains of a 5th-century structure and was designed to house the bones of Saint Praxedes (Santa Prassede) and Saint Pudentiana (Santa Pudenziana), the daughters of Saint Pudens, traditionally St. Peter's first Christian convert in Rome. The two female saints were murdered for providing Christian burial for early martyrs in defiance of Roman law. The basilica was enlarged and decorated by Pope Paschal I in c. 822.
The most famous element of the church is the mosaic decorative program in the apse, the apsidal arch, and the triumphal arch, as well as in the Chapel of Saint Zeno, a funerary chapel which Pope Paschal built for his mother, Theodora.
The picture represents the mosaic on the ceiling of the Chapel of Saint Zeno. This mosaic shows the influence of the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna. Four angels hold the central medallion with the image of Christ.