MOSAIC ARTIST, Italian
(active 820s in Rome)

Mosaic decoration of the San Zeno Chapel

822
Mosaic
Santa Prassede, Rome

The cross-shaped chapel of San Zeno, with its original opus sectile floor, was constructed by Paschal as a mausoleum for his mother, Theodora Episcopa. It is the only chapel in Rome entirely lined with mosaics and contains the alleged pillar upon which Christ was scourged.

The interior of the small chapel of St Zeno, which opens off the south aisle, is entirely covered with mosaics in glowing colours, which extends to the front of the entrance, where a large lunette contains a double circle of busts of saints.

Inside, on the ceiling, there is an 'imago clipeata' (image within a medallion, or circular frame) of Christ supported by four full-length angels that occupy the space of the pendentives of the arch. In the lunettes on the walls are representations of the Transfiguration and Resurrection, busts of saints, and a portrait of the pope's mother, Theodora, for whom the chapel was built as a mausoleum.

The picture shows the ceiling of the chapel of St Zeno.