(active in 2nd century in Rome)

Interior view

3rd century
Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome

The Catacombs of Priscilla on the Via Salaria in Rome are situated in a quarry that during Roman time was used for burials. Some of the walls and ceilings in the catacombs display fine decorations illustrating Biblical scenes. They contain many wall paintings representing saints and early Christian symbols.

The catacombs contains the best example of third-century art, the Greek Chapel. Twentieth-century restoration has revealed its complexity, from both a technical and a stylistic point of view. The area, re-using a nymphaeum, is a double cubiculum.

The first room has a light background with an extensive biblical cycle, including the story of Susanna and the Elders, in which Susanna was falsely accused by two elders of the community but finally, with the help of Daniel, was exonerated. On the entrance wall are the three Jews in the fiery furnace in Babylon, on the arch dividing the room the Adoration of the Magi. A phoenix (signifying the resurrection) is prominent on the right-hand wall and recurs on the vault.

In the inner room, against a Pompeian red, are scenes of Abraham, Noah, Daniel, and Lazarus. The most significant and effective scene is a banquet in the centre of the front arch.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.