MOSAIC ARTIST, Byzantine
(active 540s in Ravenna)

Emperor Justinian and his Court

540s
Mosaic
San Vitale, Ravenna

The picture shows the mosaic panel in the choir: Emperor Justinian and his court.

A haloed figure, Justinian is grouped with both ministers of state and Maximian and two members of the clergy. He is dressed in imperial purple and wears an enormous jewelled fibula. Like the Theodora panel, this one illustrates elements of the Byzantine style: stylised drapery that is not form-revealing, lack of spatial recession or definition, emphasis on symbolism - in this case, the Eucharist, and spiritual rather than narrative meaning. At the same time, the figures in both panels seem to be portrait heads.