Santa Maria Maggiore


SantaMaria Maggiore

SantaMaria Maggiore Early Romans




Gold,Bronze, Byzantine, Clay

Architectureand mosaic


Thework of art pictured above is commonly referred to as a façade. Itfaces the east side and has an opening in a doorway of arcades. Thesearcades are in the lower story which includes three other arches thatare located in the upper loggia (Kleiner, 2013). This upper loggia isseen covering some mosaic arts that were created in the thirteenthcentury. The mosaic that is seen in this piece of art demonstrates agem-like stones set in the façade. The original work that is createdto highlight the mosaic beauty basically represents the origin of theBasilica. The Church is called SantaMaria Maggiorebecause it is the largest Roman Catholic Church that was dedicated tothe Virgin Mary during that period (Kleiner, 2013).

Thework of art was attributed to Ferdinand Fuga, who created this workin 1741. Traditionally, there is a cultural believe that the VirginMary was the person who inspired the exact choice of the location ofthis work (Kleiner, 2013). This piece of art is church constructionis located on the Esquiline Hill. However, it is important to notethat the Virgin Mary did not appear to anyone in person, but in adream. Therefore, the popular believe, is that the church was builtin its current location as per the Virgin Mary’s miraculousindication and thus request. Therefore, this piece of work wastraditionally a religious representation of the society that livedduring that period led by Pope Liberius and Patrician John (Kleiner,2013). Currently, nothing remains of the church except significantarcheological monuments, Roman wall remains and the stupendouscalendar dating as back as second to third century AD.

Uponentering the Basilica, there rests a statue of King Philip IV, whoruled Spain (Kleinerhenz, 2004). He was a major benefactor to thebuilding of this Basilica. The statue is built using clay as theprimary source of material. This clay model was created by a famoussculpture of the seventeenth century known as Gian Lorenzo Bernini.However, the clay model was later curved to have a fine finish byGirolamo Lucenti (Kleinerhenz, 2004). The entrance of the Basilica isdecorated using bronze doors that were cast by a famous artist knownas Ludovico Pogliaghi. These are the central doors of the Basilicaand they have visible framed images that portray the life of theVirgin Mary as well as of many other prophets. In addition, there isanother sculpted Holy Door that is located to the left side and isattributed to Luigi Mattei (Kleinerhenz, 2004).

Moreover,more artwork is visible in the right panel of this Holy Door that iscarefully curved to display artwork of Jesus’ Resurrection. Themodeled images depict Jesus in on a Shroud of Turin appearing to theVirgin Mary and his disciples (Kleiner, 2013). On the far right sideof the Holy door there is more artwork that demonstrates Annunciationthat was believed to have happened at the Well. It is important tounderstand that the artists employed a technique that fused religiousteachings to the existing knowledge. Additionally, more importantChristian events are depicted in these carvings such as thePentecost. The lower corners of the Holy Door display the traditionalCouncil of Ephesus who is believed to have proclaimed the Virgin Maryas the Mother of God with Theotokosencrypted beside them (Kleiner, 2013). Additionally, there are othertitles such as Mater Ecclesiae that believed to have proclaimed theVirgin Mary as the Mother of Church. There are other catholicreligious representations such as the papal coats of arms includinghis motto.

Thispiece of art was very significant during the period when it wascreated as well for the religious traditions of the Roman CatholicChurch. The construction of this church was mostly attributed to theCouncil of Ephesus who lived during 431AD (Kleinerhenz, 2004). Thesewere significant individuals to religious teachings in Roman CatholicChurch because they are believed to have proclaimed that the VirginMary is indeed the Mother of God. The Bishop of Rome commissioned tofinance its construction and as a result, the Church had splendidmarbles, spectacular decorations that are indicated in the vast spaceof the Basilica. There is indeed a monumental effect that is causedby the entire structure of the Basilica that is characterized by theharmony of all artistic works included (Kleiner, 2013). Additionally,this work has utilized very expensive materials to build it such aspure gold that covers the ceilings and the bronze materials that havebeen used for sculptures.

Thisart is an important historical representation of religious beliefsthat existed in the early modern period. It was particularlyimportant for the Roman Catholic Church who built this church as aspecial dedication to the Virgin Mary, whom they believe to be themother of God (Kleiner, 2013). The mosaic representation throughoutthe church indicates strong personal relationships between people andGod. Most Holy Scripts have been represented through these mosaicdecorations through bible figures that have been created. Thematerials and techniques that are employed in creating themagnificent SantaMaria Maggiorefurther highlight the strong religious faith during that period.


Kleinhenz,C. (2004). MedievalItaly: An Encyclopedia.New York. Routledge Publishing.Kleiner,S. F. (2013). Gardener’sArt Through the Ages: The Western Perspective.New York. Cengage Publishing.SacredDestinations. (2016). SantaMaria Maggiore, Rome.Retrieved from &gt Accessed. June 28, 2016