Art History 202 2012: Christ as the Good Shepherd Mosaic

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1. The Christ as the Good Shepherd mosaic located on the entrance wall of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy was made circa 425 AD. A mausoleum is a monumental tomb, usually meant for entombing the dead above ground. The mosaic is displayed in a lunette-a semi-circular wall of a vaulted room. Even though the image of Christ as the Good Shepherd was a common one in catacombs in previous centuries, the way that Christ was shown in art had changed since Christianity had been adopted as Rome's official religion and the image of Christ in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia was no different. Previously Christ had been shown as a simple carpenter, but in the Christ as the Good Shepherd mosaic he is shown in a fine Roman wear. At the time, Greeks thought that they could create order within their environments and thus create statues that were "perfect." This is what they believed they were doing with the way Christ was shown in the mosaic at the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia; creating a more worldly, powerful image of Christ. Christ is shown with a large golden nimbus (halo), a royal purple mangle over a golden tunic and holding a tall cross. Also depicted in the mosaic at the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a set of three sheep on each side of Christ, with him touching one on the nose. 3. The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes mosaic located at the top register of the nave wall of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy was made circa 504 AD. The palace-church of Sant'

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