(active 6th century in Ravenna)

Interior decoration (detail)

6th century
Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna

The interior decoration includes acanthus leaf capitals, presumably imported from Constantinople (now Istanbul). Of much greater significance, however, are the sumptuous mosaics that cover the walls of the nave. They reflect the dominant role that mosaics had assumed in the churches of the Christian East; the traditional accentuation of architecture through cornices or sculptured friezes is reduced to a minimum. The mosaics are divided into three tiers. The lowest tier, below the clerestory windows, comprises processions of figures against a continuous gold background: to the south, male martyrs advance from Theodoric's palace towards Christ enthroned; to the north, female martyrs set out from the port of Classis towards the Virgin and Child enthroned, who are adored by the Magi. The latter and the rows of saints were put there by Bishop Agnellus, replacing the original court processions.

Between the windows in the second tier are 32 isolated figures of Apostles and Prophets, each standing on a green pedestal with a shell-shaped canopy overhead.

The picture shows a detail of the decoration on the south wall.

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