Thursday, September 11, 2014

The basilica doors of Santa Sabina, Rome

Depiction of the crucifixion on the wooden door of Santa Sabina.
image Wikimedia

The crucifix in the wooden door of the Basilica of Santa Sabina is among the oldest known depictions of the Crucifix in a Christian church.

The artist apparently did not have actual knowledge about crucifixion as a method of execution. Note how Christ and the two robbers are depicted standing, how the nails pierce their hands and how their arms are comfortably bent without carrying the weight of the body and how the three have loin clothes for modesty.

Christ is shown physically larger to emphasize his importance. He has the long hair and bear familiar from so many images of Jesus done ever since.

It has been suggested that the structure behind the three crucified could depict the walls of Jerusalem. The symmetric roofs and a window up left make this interpretation unlikely.

This door carving is important evidence about the hiatus between the times when crucifixion was common and the Theodosian period when it's horrors and technical details had been forgotten.

Basilica of Santa Sabina

Basilica of Santa Sabine from the East
image Wikipedia Commons license CC-BY-SA 3.0

Wikipedia tells
The Basilica of Saint Sabina (Latin: Basilica Sanctae Sabinae, Italian: Basilica di Santa Sabina all'Aventino) is a historical church on the Aventine Hill in Rome, Italy. It is a titular minor basilica and mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans. Santa Sabina is perched high above the Tiber river to the north and the Circus Maximus to the east. It is a short distance to the headquarters of the Knights of Malta.

Santa Sabina is the oldest extant Roman basilica in Rome that preserves its original colonnaded rectangular plan and architectural style. Its decorations have been restored to their original restrained design. Other basilicas, such as Santa Maria Maggiore, are often heavily and gaudily decorated. Because of its simplicity, the Santa Sabina represents the crossover from a roofed Roman forum to the churches of Christendom.
Santa Sabina was built by Peter of Illyria, a Dalmatian priest, between 422 and 432 near a temple of Juno on the Aventine Hill in Rome. The church was built on the site of the 4th-century house of Sabina a Roman matron originally from Avezzano in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

Sabina was beheaded under the Emperor Vespasian, or perhaps Hadrian, because she had been converted to Christianity by her servant Seraphia, who was stoned to death. She was later declared a Christian Saint.
The wooden door of the basilica is generally agreed to be the original door from 430-32, although it was apparently not constructed for this doorway. Eighteen of its wooden panels survive — all but one depicting scenes from the Bible. Most famous among these is one of the earliest certain depictions of Christ's crucifixion, although other panels have also been the subjects of extensive analysis because of their importance for the study of Christian iconography.

Above the doorway, the interior preserves an original dedication in Latin hexameters.
Read the entire article from wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment