(active 4th century in Rome)

Vault decoration (detail)

4th century
Santa Costanza, Rome

The decoration of the Early Christian churches was mostly with mosaics. One of the most elaborate series of mosaics is in Santa Costanza, a domed circular building reputed to have been used as the burial chapel of Constantine's daughter. The mosaics are ambivalent in their imagery; the probably late Antique ones in the vaulting of the ambulatory are only Christian in that some of the motifs, such as birds pecking grapes, luxuriant foliage and birds in a garden amid vases, the grape harvest, with putti pressing the grapes, later acquired Christian meanings.

The picture shows a detail of the mosaics decorating the vault of the ambulatory of Santa Costanza. It depicts the harvest of grapes.

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