Galla Placidia Mausoleum on Flickr – by James Macdonald

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a highly important Byzantine mausoleum in Ravenna, Italy. It is one of the eight structures in Ravenna that were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996. As the UNESCO experts reasoned, “it is the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect”.

mausoleum of Galla Placidia on Flickr – by saintpeg

Mausoleu de Gal·la Placídia, Ravenna on Flickr – by Sebastia Giralt

Built in 425-430 AD, the structure is designed in the shape of a Greek cross, and has a cupola that is entirely in mosaics, representing eight apostles and symbolical figures of doves drinking from a vessel. The other four apostles are represented on the vaults of the transverse arm; over the door is a representation of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd, young, beardless, with flowing hair, and surrounded by sheep; opposite, there is a subject that is interpreted as representing Saint Lawrence. Thin, translucent panels of stone admit light into the structure through the windows.

Galla Placidia Mausoleum, Ravenna on Flickr – by breic

galla placidia interior on Flickr – by designucdavis

The building contains three sarcophagi; the largest is said to have been that of Galla Placidia, and that her embalmed body was deposited there in a sitting position, clothed with the imperial mantle; in 1577, however, the contents of the sarcophagus were accidentally burned. The sarcophagus to the right is attributed to Emperor Valentinian III or to Galla Placidia’s brother, Emperor Honorius. The one on the left is attributed to Galla Placidia’s husband, Emperor Constantius III. In fact this building was the oratory of a wider church: the Holy Cross.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colours on Flickr – by James Macdonald

Mosaic Inside on Flickr – by pietroizzo

The inside is relatively small and extremely simple. The mausoleum was intended from the very start to be covered with mosaics, and these are the oldest in Ravenna. The eye is seduced by the brilliance of the colours, which mask the architecture and create an illusionistic effect.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia – Ravenna, Italy – Great Buildings Online

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia on Flickr – by Rosy Hunt

Mosaics Stars Mausoleo di Galla Placidia Ravenna on Flickr – by blu_blue

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia on Flickr – by Arrigo Ceramista

Mosaic detail on Flickr – by vanalledag

Dettagli sottarco Mausoleo Galla Placidia on Flickr – by Arrigo Ceramista

Mosaic tiles on Flickr – by James Macdonald

Mosaic Art Source mosaic definition:

mosaic glossary image - smalti smalti

smalto (pl. smalti) – smalti is characterized by its dazzling range of brilliant opaque colors. Smalti is prepared by adding crystalline material (corpo) and coloured material (anima) to the colourless or coloured fused glass. Smalti is literally available in thousands of colors, is a very stable glass, easy to cut and very durable. m.a.s. mosaic glossary

Mosaic Art Source mosaic definition:

gold leaf tesserae - mosaic gold gold leaf tesserae (mosaic gold)

gold leaf tesserae (mosaic gold) 24k gold-leaf tesserae are made up of a glass support layer (usually transparent, at times opaque red or coloured) less than one centimetre thick. The 24k gold metal leaf is then sandwiched between the support and a thin protective glass layer (the cartellina). In tesserae the colour shade is determined by the purity of the metal, the thickness of the leaf, the colour, if any, of the cartellina and of the support. m.a.s.mosaic glossary

Nature & Geometry, originally uploaded by pietroizzo.

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