Daily Photos & Frugal Travel Tips

Archive for June, 2012

01 Jun

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea, Ravenna, Italy

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea Tile Sign Ravenna Italy

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea Lion Ravenna Italy

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea Stairway Ravenna Italy

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea Top Of Stairs Ravenna Italy

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea View From Window Church Ravenna Italy

These are the views from some of the upper windows.

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea View From Window Ravenna Italy

Archepiscopal Museum Chapel of San Andrea Sign Ravenna Italy

(as per sign)

Cappella Arcivescovile

The Archiepiscopal Chapel built as a private oratory for the Orthodox bishops at the height of the Theodorician era, during the time of Bishop Peter II (494-519), is located on the first floor of the present Episcopacy and is reached by way of the first room in the Archiepiscopal Museum. Presumably, in origin, it was dedicated to Christ since his presence dominates every part of the mosaic: subsequently it was dedicated to St. Andrew, for reasons of ecclesiastical policy: the relics of the saint were, in fact, transferred later to Ravenna from Constantinople by Maximian (middle of 6th century). Important alterations were made to the monument in the 16th century, notably the substitution of some of the mosaic with fresco-painting done by Luca Longhi. The chapel, in the shape of a Greek cross with an apse on the eastern arm, is covered by a cross-vault and preceded by a rectangular vestibule supporting a barrel vault. The chapel is completely reverted with marble in the lower part of its walls and with mosaics in its upper part. The lunette over the vestibule door shows a warrior Christ (the lower part of the figure was extensively restored in tempera): He is shown crushing a lion and a serpent under his feet, the symbols of evil. In His right hand He is holding a long-shafted cross and in his left an open book with the inscription EGO SUM VIA, VERITAS ET VITA (John 14.6). Worthy of particular note from the iconographic point of view is the figure of a warrior Christ: the only example to be found in Early-Christian art. The barrel vault displays a decoration creating the impression of an airy pergola. The compartments contain birds and animals such as doves, partridges, ducks, parrots, and so forth. Each figure probably stands as a symbol of the peace enjoyed by souls in heaven. Lower down, on the longer side-walls supporting the vault of the vestibule are four rectangular panels bearing the golden letters of five Latin hexameters executed in tempera by Gerola in 1911 on the basis of the text quoted by the proto-historian A. Agnello. At the apex of the chapel’s cross vault is a medallion bearing Christ’s monogram, supported by four Angels, and between them are symbols of the Evangelists. In the four arch intradoses of the chapel vaulting are 28 medallions. At the apex of the soffits of the four arches supporting the cross-vault is either a medallion with the youthful image of Christ or the disk with Christ’s monogram, and on either side of it are depicted the busts of the twelve Apostles and twelve saints, six of which male. In this context, even the choice of representing the figures of the twelve martyrs in the arches of the chapel is a clear affirmation of Catholic orthodoxy. This chapel is the only example of Early-Christian private oratory for the bishop which has come down to us and in a good state of preservation, and it is the only orthodox monument built in the Theodorician era at a time when the Arian religion was dominant. In the polemical spirit of anti-Arianism which animates the whole decoration of the oratory, it is possible to interpret the exaltation of light in the Latin inscription on the wall of the vestibule in the same manner, which starts as follows: Aut Lux hic nata est aut capta hic libera regnat (Either light was born here or, captured here reigns freely). These verses, which are usually regarded to express in a poetic form the brilliance of the light trapped in the mosaics, can be interpreted not only as an aesthetic and philosophic assertion but as a direct reference to the light of Orthodoxy.

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No cameras are allowed inside the museum.
The entrance fee is included in the combination ticket.

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