Rome, Italy: Basilica of Saint Praxedes: Chapel of San Zeno: Entrance

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Sheppard, Beth M.
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19-May-17
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Image
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Italy , Rome , Basilica di Santa Prassede all Esquilino , Basilica of Saint Praxedes , Chapels , Chapel of Saint Zeno , Cappella di San Zenone , Entrances , Byzantine Art , Mosaics , Jesus Christ in Art , Saints in Art , Prophets in Art , Ionic Columns , Theodora , Funerary Urns
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The Basilica of Saint Praxedes (in Italian: Basilica di Santa Prassede, commonly known as Santa Prassede) is a Catholic basilica located in the Rione Esquilino (or district of Esquiline). Esquiline is the name of a Roman hill, one of seven on which the ancient city was built. The church was rebuilt by Pope Pasquale I in 822 CE and was restored multiple times since then. It was built principally as a resting place for the relics of Roman martyrs and was dedicated to the second-century Saint Praxedes, who was the daughter of a Roman senator. Along with her sister, Praxedes provided comfort and care to Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire. The sisters were murdered for burying early Christian martyrs, which defied Roman law. The church is known for being the most important example of early Christian Byzantine art in Rome because of the mosaics decorating its apse and side chapels. The photograph shows part of the architecture and artwork of the right lateral Chapel of Saint Zeno (Cappella di San Zenone) within the Basilica. Pope Paschal built the funerary chapel for his mother, Theodora. The photograph shows the entrance to the chapel from the perspective of the central nave of the basilica. One of the black columns flanking the entrance is made of marble; the other is granite. Both are topped with Ionic capitals. These emphasize and support an urn containing the remains of Theodora. The mosaic tondi above the entrance that decorate the blue outer arch depict Christ and the 12 apostles. The inner gold horseshoe tondi depict the Virgin and Child, Saints Praxedes and Pudenziana, their brothers Saints Timothy and Novate, and others. The two tondi in the upper corners are thought to represent Moses and Elijah. On a more prosaic note, the white machine to the left of the entrance requires a euro to turn on the lights within the chapel.
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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