Ravenna, S Michele in Africisco
|Location||Am Kupfergraben, 10117 Berlin, Germany|
Don't go looking for this church in Ravenna. What remains of it is in the Bode Museum in Berlin and a fragment - a head of Christ possibly, but horribly restored - in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. We know that the patron of S Michele was a man called Julianus Argentarius, who also helped pay for various other churches in Ravenna, including S Vitale. Here, Julianus and his son-in-law were the patrons. We know that the church was dedicated in 545;. We are pretty sure that the apse mosaic showed Christ, beardless, holding a cross staff and book, and flanked by Michael and Gabriel, all on a gold ground. Cosmas and Damian were in the pendentives of the apse space and on the arch of the apse was a bearded, enthroned Christ in centre, angels to either side, seven in all.
But what is in the Bode now is, in my view, largely a nineteenth-century version of events.