Apostle Paul, circa 494–519 CE Mosaic, Museo arcivescovile di Ravenna, Italy.
This tondo of the apostle Paul appears in the Archiepiscopal Chapel in Ravenna. Ravenna’s historic architecture illustrated the divisions and developments in early church art of the fifth and sixth centuries. This private chapel for the city’s bishops feature anti-Arian iconography in their mosaics. The Latin Orthodox bishops of Ravenna were trying to distinguish themselves from the Ostrogoth Arian rulers who conquered Ravenna in the late fifth century. The conflict between Arianism and Orthodoxy was a major influence on artistic as well as political developments in the fifth and sixth century. Ravenna came under the direct control of Constantinople in about 540 C.E with Arianism increasingly sidelined and eventually banned.