Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four papal basilicas, was built by Pope Sixtus III (r. 432-440) shortly after the Council of Ephesus (431) agreed to promote the veneration of the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God.
The mosaic in the apse of the church, which has been hailed as the finest in Rome, depicts the Coronation of the Virgin Mary. It is the work of Jacopo Torriti and was completed in 1296.
In the centre of the mosaic, Mary shares a throne with Christ, who places a crown on her head. The scene is set in a roundel with a star-studded blue background representing the firmament.
Christ's crowning of Mary is being witnessed by a host of angels and saints. Pope Nicholas IV (r. 1288-92) and Cardinal Jacopo Colonna have also inveigled an invitation. The mosaic is signed in the left hand corner: IACOB(U)S TORRITI PICTOR H(OC) OP(US) MOSAIC(UM) FEC(IT).
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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