(active 1180s in Monreale)

Sanctuary, south wall (detail)

Cathedral, Monreale

Within the ambitious pictorial program in the Monreale Cathedral, particular prominence is accorded to the two mosaics on the northeast and southeast crossing pillars. In the first one, placed above the royal throne, Christ is pictured crowning William II; the second one portrays William II as donor, presenting Mary with model of her cathedral.

The picture shows King William II as donor before the Virgin.

Medieval donor portraits sometimes show the patron presenting the work of art to a sacred figure, such as Christ, the Virgin Mary, or one of the saints. In an architectural project, the donor is usually shown offering up a model of the building. This can be seen in this mosaic at Monreale, Sicily, where William II is shown presenting a model of the church to the Virgin Mary, to whom it is dedicated. In presenting such gifts, the donors were no doubt acting in the hope that they would secure an easier passage to heaven and eternal salvation.

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