Early Byzantine Mosaics

The Second Coming when an eternally youthful Christ, seated on a watery globe from which pour the four rivers of Eden, hands the Martyrs Crown to Saint Vitalis.

How many works of art from the Sixth Century C.E. delight and inspire so much as the great mosaics of the Byzantine-Roman Empire? Few that I know of. So when I was able to visit the cities of Emilia-Romagna in September 2018, Ravenna was at the top of the list (OK, they were all “at the top of the list”, but Ravenna was paramount).

How many pilgrimages are so well-fulfilled?

Colourful, abstract, conceptual, literary, humane… All the adjectives that matter apply to the mosaics crowded into the Apse of the Basilica of San Vitale. “Resonant” is another that occurs only later when it seems that the eyes of Theodora or the slightly distracted gaze of Christ at the Second Coming, or the undemonstrative power of the Emperor’s presence will greet  you whenever your memory turns back to your visit.

Please download a PDF file  (9.4 MB) of the images and be sure to view them full-screen on your computer or tablet.


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