If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:38

Video transcript

this is Steven Zucker Beth Harris with Richard Bowen art historian and or other historian in Rome at center for seda so we're we're walking down the side street and what's interesting is that you have really no sense that you're about to walk into a major church you come through our courtyard and we come into a church that's the thing that grabs our attention most of the beautiful of 9th century mosaics of which this church is rightly famous for its completely laden with the decorative the jewel like Muller's in the apse are just stunning and I think you'll find that many medieval church tend to have this way of trying to draw you to the high altar here with the apse of which you will have great theological moments happening so st. prac CDs or Santa presiding she and her sister st. puddin Siana I were daughters of a gentleman here in Rome of the first century a day st. Putin's who is actually mentioned in the Bible so they are ascribed if you like here to the earliest times of Christianity here in Rome the by tradition they're understood to be martyrs not only martyrs but also those that help the Christian community here from at least a second half the first century 80 I would imagine that the mosaics are actually quite old yah man dude they're nice and desert this isn't so there's a ninth century maybe we ought to start with it with the apse mosaic should we go closer taxes in a sec so we don't upset first what we got here in the apse is we've got our sinful figure here of Jesus Christ and then we have the heavens at the top here with God's hand coming down here would have wither with a crown the hand of God yes that's there then we've got this river behind which is the River Jordan of which Jesus Christ was baptized and then here we've got some very interesting Saints over here to our left we've got some Paul who has his hand around st. prax ADIZ yes yeah embracing her embracing her but also you do you see marriages exactly introducing nothing to Jesus earn a bit that probably is the thing that is the crowning glory in many ways of this app some Jose is we have Pascal the first here it is he presenting the church is sounding the church himself but not only that you also see as a square halo yeah this is very very rare in Christian iconography because what you see here is a saint still alive at the time of his depiction had he been canonized he's been kind of nice okay it was one of the perks of the job then we've got the palm here which can be a similar of paradise and also have martyrdom then we've got this little Phoenix here which is obviously symbol yeah the resurrection as well as also the peacock can be a similar resurrection as well so and resurrection is something that was in Christianity's of the utmost importance absolutely perhaps today in the 21st century we tend to forget the importance of the resurrection plays certainly within Christianity and if you think that probably people who came to this church in the 9th century AD may not live beyond the age of 40 or 45 then the idea of a better life afterwards is sort of utmost and that's right death was a far more immediate experience in cycling and then there's this marvelous row of lamb these are lambs here they're coming out of the two holy cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem and these are sort of like representative if you like here of you of the old apostles okay and of course like Jesus Lamb of God if you like s do you have the symbolism here Jesus not only being past of it and the Shepherd but also the flock of the faithless again and of course I notice right above pasta schools can have a lamb on an altar that's right yes in the Galleon above and much and the cross and almost like the chair waiting for the second coming then the course obviously got these angels here and then you've got the candles seven candles and I see the Evangelist the Evangelist in the corner as well the symbols of the evangelists and then the elders of the apocalypse here depending mind this is a Byzantine style of art in some ways it's quite flat in some of the mosaics so we're going to see which I quite liked well oh it's Babel and the reference is for instance to the folds of the cloth oh really yeah it's just tradition it's just wine but my favorite part is always when I look at Byzantine mosaics like this or that are those feet that seem to sort of dangle down and don't really seem to have contact with the earth these are kind of floating a miracle that's the critical issue here's the really a kind of really direct rejection of so much of what's around us that's right of the that's right of the pre-christian and de-seed in this context really makes sense a kind of reinvention and in a kind of abstraction of the physical right the the artificial lights went off just a moment ago and the ambient light from the sky coming in from the windows from the nave were illuminating glass tiles beautifully and the gold was incredibly reflective and the spirituality is so powerful