Mosaics: Santa Maria in Trastevere
I was lucky enough to wander upon a charity concert for Abruzzo happening in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere on Saturday night, where the mosaics were beautifully illuminated and I took this photo. I think people underestimate mosaics as an art form and while Rome isn’t the Italian city classically looked at for mosaics (as opposed to Ravenna or Venice), there are some beautiful examples to be found, such as the mosaics pictured. The church is one of the oldest in Rome and, as happens with many churches here, as been added on to and rebuilt through the centuries. The apse mosaics date from the 12th century and, as is common with this time period, are laid out in a very clear fashion to convey the message to the parish. Remember that people did not read and mosaics, just as stained glass, were used to relay religious stories to the hoards of people who would arrive for mass. The gold background was used both to show wealth but also to enhance lighting. Candles and oil lamps were the only lighting methods available at the time so the gold aided in the reflection of that light. In fact, one of the special things about going to the concert was that the lights were dimmed, giving that lovely “candle lit” glow.