Rome, Italy: Basilica of Saint Praxedes: Chapel of San Zeno: Interior Art 1

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Sheppard, Beth M.
Issue Date
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 , Byzantine Art , Mosaics , Jesus Christ in Art , Deesis , Deisis
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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 scene opposite the entrance. The top of the photograph cuts off the figures of the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist, who are gesturing to the east-facing window between them. This represents the Byzantine iconographical tradition of the Deesis (or Deisis), a Greek word meaning "entreaty" (supplication; prayer). The window is symbolic of Christ, as Christ was the Light of the World. Within this niche are fluted columns with Ionic capitals, topped with a mosaic lunette of Christ and his disciples. Between the columns is a 13th century mosaic of the Virgin and Child. The gilded Corinthian column capital in the upper left of the photograph supports the cross vaulted ceiling.
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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