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GetCOO | Il Buon Pastore | Il Mausoleo di Galla Placidia

Il Buon Pastore | Il Mausoleo di Galla Placidia


In the lunette over the door the so-called Christ the Good Shepherd the Redeemer, the victorious king against sin and death reigns in Heaven. He keeps the glorious cross in his hand and he welcomes the Justs, represented by the sheeps which tenderly look at Him.


The mausoleum is sober and not pretentious outside but an enormous surprise astonishes the visitor when he enters inside: decoration is rich and sumptuous and the atmosphere is quiet and cosy.
The upper side is completely covered with mosaics where indigo-blue predominates, the lower side of the walls on the contrary, are covered with yellow marble from Siena, almost totally due to a restoration. Originally the slabs were made by ancient yellow as some fragments survive and prove it.
The whole mosaic decoration communicate a unique funeral message: the glorious Cross is the way to Resurrection and Eternal Life.
In the dark blue night sky of the dome the gold Signum Crucis is surrounded by concentric circles of gold stars. The cross of the Apocalypse is the key of the whole iconography.

Iconography and iconology in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia are strictly connected to the imperial orthodoxy against Arian heresy and to the church of Santa Croce it belonged to.
The high and complex conceptualization of the argument was developed by the theological culture of bishop Peter 1st Crisologo (426-450) doctor of the church and the Empress' counselor.