(active 1130s in Rome)

Interior view

San Clemente, Rome

The present church of San Clemente was constructed to replace the Early Christian basilica from the 4th century. It was built by the cardinal and priest of San Clemente, Anastasius, who is documented between 1102 and 1125, and it rises above its predecessors's centre and left side aisles. The structure was completed and consecrated around 1118-19. The mosaic decoration of the apse is generally dated to this time. However, recent studies suggest a a considerably later date in the 1130s.

Mosaics of the apse calotte and those of the apsidal arch were executed by two different workshops, for it is obvious that they employed different styles. However, they were accomplished in a single effort, without major interruptions. The artists began on the upper part of the apsidal arch, continued with its side sections, and finally turned to the apse calotte.

The mosaic in San Clemente was the first great apse mosaic to have been produced in Rome in roughly two hundred years. It incorporated any number of familiar motifs from Early Christian mosaics, but combined them with distinctly medieval pictorial elements to create a new synthesis.

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