Of all the monumental scenery of Rome. founded in the VII century, it has survived only a few. The situation is similar to the works of this period in Byzantium. Based on these few examples left in its original form it can be judged that the artistic processes taking place in Rome at this time, represent a gradual departure from the Byzantine influences and the formation of their own style based on the ancient traditions of the city of Saint Peter and processing borrowed ideas shapes and motifs introduced by other cultural centers of the Christian East. The scenery apses Roman churches developed iconographic scheme, previously found in earlier centuries, the search for new stylistic and imaginative solutions.
Near the bustling Roman Via Nomengana is the ancient basilica of St. Agnes, built into the hillside, where the catacombs — burial place of the first Christians, the then capital of the pagan Roman Empire. Included in this church at a glance offers a real miracle — the altar in a golden glow appears beautiful young St. Agnes, martyr, victim of the new faith in the time of Emperor Diocletian. Beauty Agnes consciously choose the path of Christian purity and virtue, he refused to worship the pagan gods and took a painful death at the age of thirteen, in the year 303. A few days later the girl’s parents had a vision in which Agnes appeared before them in rich robes and crown and glory, resurrected to a new life in heaven. Saint was buried in the catacombs on Via Nomengana. Since then, the image of the CE is an example and a symbol of chastity and purity. The cult of the young saint soon became very popular in Rome, where, during the pontificate of Pope Symmachus (498 -514) was founded Basilica in honor of this holy, and in 625 — 638 years under Pope Honorius I apse of the church was decorated with a mosaic with her image on a gold background surrounded by two popes, the patron of the church — and the customer’s SIM maha mosaic — Honorius with a model of the church in his hands. If the figures and faces of both pontiffs have been preserved in a somewhat modified form of the numerous restorations, the image of the patron saint of the church survives today in all its splendor. St. Agnes is presented in luxurious robes, embroidered with precious stones that resemble and ceremonial vestments of the priest, and the garments of the Byzantine empresses. Her head is decorated with a tiara, holding a scroll with the Scriptures. At the feet of the saint is depicted sword and fire — the attributes testifying to behold martyrdom. At the top of the apse in a semicircle of white, blue and dark blue, decorated with shining stars, the right hand of the Lord is holding a martyr’s crown over the head of a saint.
The decoration of the church the image of St. Agnes for the first time interfere in the composition of the apse, and occupies a central position. In the known Roman mosaics IV -V centuries of women’s images have a symbolic function. acting as allegories of the Christian church, faith, or were part of the story, the characters of the Old Testament. And only in the beginning of VII lawsuit in the mosaic of the Church of St. Agnes is praised as the woman martyr fearless advocate of faith and chastity of the Christian virtues.
Balanced composition, ideal images, geometrically precise proportions of the figures arrayed saint pontiffs, who are at a considerable distance from each other and seemed to sink into the golden background, splendor and rich mosaic of colors, the solemn prayer Anticipation characters-all this creates a truly majestic image of monumental art of VII century.
The second significant set of monumental painting of VII century Rome is the decoration of the Oratory of St. Venanzio, adjacent to the famous Roman basilica baptistry Withdrawn John in Lateran. In 640 — 642 years Pope John IV builds Oratory, named in honor of his heavenly patron saint Venanzio. It is here at the behest of the pontiff, a native of Dalmatia, were transferred to the power of the holy martyrs of Dalmatia and Istria. captured in time of the accident. The complex mosaic decoration of the Oratory was completed in 642 — 649 years under Pope Theodore I.
The composition of the apse is divided into two registers: the upper pomeshen bust of Christ surrounded by two angels at the bottom — the image of Our Lady of Orans, the Apostles Peter and Paul, the patron saint of the church and the mosaic customers. This image of Christ, which took probably Eastern origin, corresponds to a more ancient sacred image of the Savior, who was in the conch of the apse of the church of St. John. one of the main (after the Cathedral of St. Peter) enormous pilgrimage basilicas of Rome. The composition of the nine characters in lowercase develops iconographic scheme apse decoration, found even in the VI century and had fairly widespread in the Roman mosaics in the next century. The problem of choosing a mosaic of characters is of particular interest for researchers. The traditional iconography of the scene of the Ascension of Christ, the central place in which, as in this case, takes a picture of Oranta, surrounded by the apostles, broken here for the introduction of other characters, including John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the bishops Venantius and Domnion and Pope John IV and Theodore with a model Oratorio in his hands. The stage becomes so vague and timeless character. Free interpretation of the story of the Holy Scriptures may have Eastern origin by virtue of the fact that Pope Theodore, in which the work was completed in the Oratory, came from Jerusalem, and quite likely could opt for the more familiar it iconography, which had spread to Palestine.
On both sides of the arch shows two apsidnoy Dalmatian group of martyrs: Bishop Moor, Deacon Septimius, Antioch, Gayane, Anastasius, Asteria Tello, Paulinian. Under the ceiling pomesheny Image City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem and the symbols of the Evangelists.
Stylistic solution to this puzzle is similar to the image of the famous mosaic of the Church of San Vitale in Ravenna, with a picture of the suite of the Emperor Justinian (VI century.), Which, obviously, was known mosaicists San Venanzo, and resembles a mosaic of the Church of St. Dmitry Thessalonica, filled in the VII century. Lean, elongated, severe, these images are virtually devoid of naturalness and naturalism inherent in antiquity isolated strictly frontal figures of saints have no real scope, as if they were engraved on abstract gold background. Strict planar silhouettes, abstract gold background, the absence of any relationships of these characters with the real world apart from the fact that this is a kind of transformation of reality, the world of the divine, transcendent, in which there is no place earthly laws.
Almost simultaneously with the decoration of the Oratory of San Venanzio in Rome Pope Theodore I I order the masters, probably of Greek origin, a small apse decoration in the ancient church of Santo Stefano Rotondo (642 — 649). It is known that in 648 out of the catacombs near Rome in the church were moved and buried relics taken Primus and Felician.
They became the main sanctuary of the church, attracts many pilgrims.
The composition of the apse, calm and balanced, reminiscent of the solution. considered on the example of the apse of the church of St. Agnes. On an abstract gold background shows two martyr. In the center of the cross stands, decorated with precious stones and crowned by a medallion with a bust of Christ. This interpretation of the Holy Cross also has Eastern origin. Perhaps the customer mosaics, Pope Theodore wished to decorate the apse is a cross as a reminder of the conquest of Jerusalem by the Persians in 614, when the Holy Cross was lost to Christians.
The medallion depicts a semicircle on the right hand of the Lord was with martyrdom Venn. Background composition of gold, green Koper grass strewn with small red flowers. Of particular interest in this mosaic of images of the saints cause, solved very individually. Holy Note — gray-haired old man with a beard, Saint Feliciano, on the contrary, a young man with thick hair and piercing eyes. The heads and their hands are made of small pieces of colored stone skin tone, the rest of the mosaic tesserae laid out. The subtlety of graphic quality and performance. sophisticated color palette, rich in different shades of natural stone, careful and individual interpretation of the faces of the saints, the use of tiny mosaic cubes and the detailing speak of a high professional level mosaicist apse Saito Stefano Rotondo, who came to Rome. apparently, from Byzantium.
A unique example of mosaic art in Rome the icon of VII century is the image of St. Sebastian Church of St. Peter in chains. Life of Saint tells us that he was a Roman legionary, head of the Praetorian Guard, to practice Christianity and refers to the new faith of the other soldiers. For the ego in 354 year Sebastian was sentenced to death by the Emperor Diocletian, and was tied to a tree. and the Roman archers shot at her as long as considered dead. However, he survived, and then he was beaten to death with whips, but the body was thrown into the gutter. When, in 680, the Romans decimated the terrible plague, one of the residents was a sign about that. you need to ask for protection against this scourge at the St. Sebastian and to dedicate the altar. According to legend, it was then when the procession through Rome the icon of St. Sebastian, rid the city of the terrible epidemic, was solemnly brought to the church of St. Peter in chains, where he was consecrated the altar of St. Sebastian. This hook has been set the date of creation of icons.
The iconography of the mosaic has nothing to do with the traditional interpretation of the saint in the form of a naked young man tied to a tree, with the body. pierced by an arrow. However, an inscription with his name, estates right and left on the margins of the icon, dispels any doubt about that. who at Pei shows. Saint Sebastian is presented in the form of a gray-haired old man, dressed in the clothes of the warrior era of imperial Rome. Piercing his dark eyes into the distance.
Dark blue background color, characteristic of the Roman mosaics of VI century and is widely used in the monumental decoration of churches of IX century, dominates this mosaic. On it stand out and shine bright gold letters of the inscription, the holy crown and fringes of his garment. Bright colorful palette mosaic striking boldness choice and freshness of flowers. 13, the right hand of St. Sebastian holds the crown of martyrdom, which he also supports veiled cloak with his left hand. Perhaps, initially in the left hand it was the holy cross. The image of the holy warrior, Christian Protomartyr likened column, pillar of the Christian faith. This motif is maintained in the image pull-down coat, but the outline resembles ancient columns with capitals. Given the relatively small size of the icon mozaichist uses here is quite large pieces of tesserae, including in the elaboration of the face of the saint, which adds to the bright orange touches. A few patches of light and dark spots on the colorful board mozaichist outlines the modeling light.
Contingencies and styling solutions image of St. Sebastian, hermeticism proportions and graphic quality study silhouette, bright festive colors, composed of the primary colors, without the subtle nuances, and tonal transitions, the choice of dark become blue colored mosaic background — all these traits characterize the gradual addition of the actual Roman school of medieval mosaics , the style of which will be developed in Roman mosaics VIII — IX centuries.