Rome, S Maria in Domnica, apse and triumphal arch mosaics

Also known as Sta Maria della Navicella
Era 9AD
Location Via della Navicella, 10, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Sta Maria in Domnica is a basilica church which has been practically rebuilt in the sixteenth century. We will pass over this rapidly. I have a soft spot for it: it's been a shelter from torrential rain on a couple of occasions, and I like the mosaic.

The mosaic depicts the Virgin and Child enthroned in the centre with Pope Paschal, with a square halo and scroll, on his knees before them. Paschal rebuilt the church during his papacy (817-24). On either side is a great crowd of angels with bright turquoise haloes - very striking. A long inscription below extols the pope, inevitably, as restorer of an ancient ruined church and hails his devotion to the Virgin. Paschal’s monogram is on the crown of the arch immediately above the Virgin’s head. The apse arch shows Christ in the centre, in his divine apocalyptic majesty at the Second Coming. He is seated on a rainbow and flanked by angels. He blesses with his right hand and holds a sealed scroll in his left. Six apostles flank him, with – as is often the case in Rome - Peter (grey hair and grey beard) to his immediate left and Paul (baldy, black pointy beard) to his immediate right - the more special side, the side Christ is blessing on. Below Peter stands John the Baptist pointing to the apse and below Paul is John the Evangelist, holding out his hand in blessing.

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