The beautiful mosaic in the apse of Santa Maria in Domnica was commissioned by St Pope Paschal I (r. 817-24).
In the centre of the mosaic are the Madonna and Child flanked by a host of angels. St Paschal, who sports a square halo (indicating he was still alive when the mosaic was executed), kneels at the bottom of the mosaic, cradling the Madonna's right foot in his hands.
The mosaic on the arch depicts Christ in a mandorla flanked by two angels and the twelve apostles. The prophets Moses and Elijah stand at a lower level.
Of ancient foundation, Santa Maria in Domnica was mostly rebuilt at the beginning of the 16th century by Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, the future Pope Leo X (r. 1513-21).
Santa Maria in Domnica is also known as Santa Maria in Navicella, after the small stone boat (navicella) which forms part of the fountain in front of the church.
Blogging about Rome:
its art, history and culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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