The San Vitale In Ravenna And The Dome Of The Rock In Jerusalem

878 words - 4 pages

Monuments such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and San Vitale in Ravenna, perform a great importance in Byzantine and Islamic architecture. Both of these structures did not exclusively represent the main place of worship, but most importantly as a symbol of achievement and growth within the current times of construction. Starting in 524, under the influence of Orthodox bishop Ecclesius, the development of San Vitale was to represent the achievements of the emperor Justinian. Julius Argentarius was the sponsor for this structure and it was dedicated by Bishop Maximian in 547. The Dome of the Rock is built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 692 with the help of Abd al-Malik with the suspected intention to symbolize Islams influence in Jerusalem and its involvement in a highly Jewish and Christian supremacy. Although separated by over 100 yrs, both of these domes share multiple similarity's including a projected confidence of their originating culture.
The San Vitale is primarily built of brick with a marble and mosaic interior. The ground plan consists of a octagonal organization with a central dome supported by a tall cylindrical drum. Separated by clerestory windows, is a dome in a concentric form of clay tubed rings and seven curved exedras connected to vaulted semi domes. At the main entrance of this chapel is a narthax making it off access from the adjustment apsidal chapels. On either side of the narthax is two projecting towers, one being a spiral stair tower and the other a bell tower. Connecting the central dome area and the ambulatory is 8 strong masonry pillars. The outer prism incorporates two levels of galleries with eccentric mosaics from floor to ceiling. Whether marble or mosaic stone, the monument fills the viewer with imagery and color. Representations of figures such as Jesus and his Apostles, scenes of sacrifices from the Old Testament, angels and decorative aspects such as flowers, animals, and fruit, cover the upper half. On the lower half is an organization of geometric forms. However, the most important mosaic is the representation of Emperor Justinian and Emprise Theodora. Justinian is presented holding a bowl of Eucharistic bread as Theodora carries a chalice or vessel of Eucharistic wine. Due to the orientation of these figures and the ones that surrounds them, it could be suggested that they represent bringing Eucharistic elements into the church. Perhaps even as an offering to christ which is reinforced by the three magi bearing gifts on Theodora's rob.
The Dome of the Rock is constructed with a wood structure encased with marble and stone mosaics. The octagonal plan has a large central...

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