Empress Theodora And Retinue
This Mosaic is found in the Basilica of San Vitale. It is found on the left wall of the apse and it represents Empress Theodora and her offerings to Christ. Theodora is represented as part of an Imperial court group. She is accompanied by her sisters, ladies of the court, and two men. Both men and women are dressed in linen or silk tunics and cloaks. The mens cloaks are tied to the right shoulder with a brooch and decorated with a rectangular tablion. She is in the center of the mosaic wearing imperial purple. She has a halo signifying her divinity and she is set against a shell niche. She is crowned with a halo.Her position in the mosaic shows her status as co-regent. She has a richly attire decorated with jewels. She also has strings of pearls, which were believed to have special powers to prevent sickness, hanging down from her crown.The bowl that Theodora is holding tilts forward, and naturaly the water would spill forward. the mosaic lacks in naturalism and the aboundance elaborated patterns and repetitions.The gazes of the women and two men are not directly to the viewer. Some of the women look at Theodora and the others look to one side.There are no shadows found and one can clearly see the overlapping allows us to see that the figures are moving from left to right, towards the entrance of the church. The background is in abundance of gold and is significant because is symbolic to Christ's self-proclaimed role as "light of the world".The diagonal feet are not supported by a three-dimensional floor.Perhaps the group is standing on the anteroom in the church of San Vitale. The man to the far right of the mosaic is drawing back a curtain (perhaps representing the Temple Veil to an entrance of Holy Holies) leading to the sanctuary. While Theodora extends a large chalice, representing Christ sacrificial blood, to the man next to her. Once the man has the large chalice, he is going to take it to the sanctuary.The meaning for the offerings are from the Three Magi, that were known to have taken valuable gifts to Christ when he was born. In this mosaic the Three Magi appear in the hem of Theodora's robes. This mosaic illustrates the meaning of royalty presenting objects of value to the church.Theodora was known to be the responsible of the victory of Justinian in Constantinople. She was also known for her beauty and this mosaic frames in huge towering tiara with diamonds, esmeralds, sapphires, and pearls. Theodora is displayed as a proud empress.