San Vitale--page 3 (of 4 pages)

548 C.E.

Page 1: exterior views and choir
Page 2: dome and mosaics of Theodora and retinue and Justinian and retinue
Page 3: mosaics on side walls
Page 4: church interior views and ambulatory; details of floor and capitals

Left side of the choir

The tympanum depicts events in the life of Abraham, above are Jeremiah and Moses receiving the Law, above in the center are two angels with a medallion containing a cross, and the very top depicts two of the four Evangelists, here St. John (left with the eagle) and St. Luke (right) with the ox; the other two are on the opposite side.

The Left tympanum

The patriarch Abraham entertains the three angels, usually read as symbols of the Trinity, while the not so aged Sarah hovers in the background. On the right, Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son Isaac (typologically related to the Crucifixion) when he is halted by the hand of God. The Eucharist motif, repeated throughout the choir, is also seen here in the bread that Abraham offers the angels, which has cross shapes baked into the crust--another reminder of the Host.

Right side of the choir

In the tympanum Abel and Melchisedek make sacrifices while the spandrel depicts Moses removing his sandals before the burning bush and another representation of him as he tends flocks.

Left: view of the right side of the choir; Two of the four Evangelists: St. Matthew, represented with his symbol the Angel, and St. Mark with the lion

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.