Justinian, Bishop Maximianus, and Attendants
From: San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
One of the most famous figures of authority during the Byzantine empire, is this mosaic, as well as the mosaics that accompany it. Justinian seen here is shown with the bishop Maximianus along with attendants carrying various religious or other items. The attendants seen on the far left are carrying a shield with the symbol Chi Rho, while the attendants on the far right are carrying the Gospels encased in a golden jeweled book cover, symbolizing the coming of the Word. A censer containing the burning incense to purify the altar before the mass is also being carried. Justinian himself is carrying the bowl with the bread of the Eucharist, which pays homage to Jesus appears in an adjacent apse mosaic. The entire mosaic is a big propaganda piece, which glorifies the power of Justinian, and of the church. The mosaic itself catches light when hit by it, producing a magnificent glow, because of the materials used to put it together.
Why This Artwork?
This artwork was chosen because of the importance it gives to Justinian, an important individual in his rule of Byzantine. By this artwork we can see that he is very religious and also has no qualms about showing his wealth as a king. Another mosaic in the same building shows his wife, Theodora, which shows that they were equally represented. This gives us a major glimpse into their culture, making it an important piece of work to include.