Power In San Vitale

1974 Words 8 Pages
It is not uncommon for cathedrals in the Byzantine Empire to be used as status of prosperity and power, rather than being solely places of worship. San Vitale is known for the incredible mosaics that create a focus on Justinian, Theodora, and other political figures which make it more of a glorification of the emperor than a religious building. How much decadence and lavishness is acceptable before the focus of this church becomes more about paying respects to the people in power in the time it was built, rather than giving glory to God?
The goal of this paper is to ask the question, and possibly come to the conclusion of whether or not having a cathedral to glorify God was first priority, or was it used by Justinian to show the great power
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It is polygonal on the exterior and circular on the interior, and remarkably there are seven doors on the exterior walls of the church, five of which lead directly outside (Deliyannis 223).With small windows with clear glass, there is not much artistic license into making stained glass windows in San Vitale. It is curious that so much of the décor is of imperial significance, with the remaining interior space heavily ornamented with foliage and repeating patterns. It is however a cathedral and there is much religious iconography in the presbytery biblical mosaics including scenes from the life of Moses, prophets, dedicatory images, and angels. (Demus …show more content…
These monograms provide more information about who was involved, such as Victor, Maximian 's immediate predecessor. Before Victor was Ursicinus, the bishop between he and Ecclesius who participated as well. The exact dates of these bishops ' reigns are subject to some doubt, but the rough chronology is as follows; Ecclesius reined 522- 532, Ursicinus 533- 536, Victor 538- 545, Maximian 546-556. Victor was bishop the year 540, when the Ostrogoths who followed the Arian heresy surrendered Ravenna to the Orthodox Byzantines (Andreescu-Treadgold

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