The Calling of Peter and Andrew

The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew. Mosaic from the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy.

The Italian city of Ravenna served at one time as the capital of the Western Roman Empire, then of the kingdom of the Germanic Ostrogoths. In 540 C.E. it was conquered by the Byzantines and became an administrative center for their empire. It was here that the Basilica St. Apollinaire Le Neuf was built during the rule of Theoderic the Goth (ruled 493–526 C.E.), king of the Germanic Ostrogoths and ruler of Italy. The church walls, nave, and clerestory are adorned with beautiful mosaics, including 26 panels documenting the life of Christ. Here we see Christ calling out from the shoreline to Peter and Andrew, who are fishing in the sea. Inviting the pair to be his disciples, Christ is shown in traditional classical Roman attire. The halo and cruciform surrounding Christ’s head were added in 560 C.E., during the Byzantine Empire.

 

The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew. Mosaic from the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy.

Relating to the Byzantine empire, which ruled the Eastern Mediterranean from the fifth century CE to 1453; its capital was Byzantium (modern Istanbul).

A broad, diverse group of nations ruled by the government of a single nation.

Artwork composed of small pieces of material—glass, stone, pottery—arranged in patterns or depicting persons and scenes.

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