The paper aims to investigate the relationship between Venantius Fortunatus’ De Virginitate and the mosaics of St. Apollinare Nuovo basilica in Ravenna. In the premise of the research is the hypothesis that the formative genesis of the poem and its contents owes much more to the new mosaic cycle of the Palatine Basilica in Ravenna, sponsored by Archbishop Agnellus in the aftermath of the Byzantine retaking, than pointed out so far. This assumption seems supported not only by the similarities between some mosaic details and Venantius’ narrative, but mainly by the symbolic and ideological significance of the female procession in the northern nave. Thus, an attempt is made to offer an original interpretation of the decorative cycle, relying on references of written sources and peculiar iconographic choices made by Agnellus as a patron. It’s likely that Agnellus opted for the formulation of an unprecedented decorative cycle focused on a procession of martyrs precisely envisioned as sponsae Christi on their way to meet the heavenly Bridegroom. It can be assumed that Venantius, just as being commissioned of a poem on ascetic ideology and virginal consecration, found inspiration in the visual imagery evoked by the new mosaic cycle of the Palatine basilica, which he had most likely been able to visit before his departure for Gaul. Being it occurred in the last months of 565 , a terminus ante quem for the completion of Agnellus’ mosaic repairs can be inferred, and hence for the rededication of the church to the Orthodox cult, too.

Sponsae Christi. Venantius Fortunatus’ De Virginitate and the mosaics of St. Apollinare Nuovo basilica in Ravenna / Giulia Marsili. - In: BIZANTINISTICA. - ISSN 1591-0172. - STAMPA. - 22:(2022), pp. 61-93.

Sponsae Christi. Venantius Fortunatus’ De Virginitate and the mosaics of St. Apollinare Nuovo basilica in Ravenna

Giulia Marsili
2022

Abstract

The paper aims to investigate the relationship between Venantius Fortunatus’ De Virginitate and the mosaics of St. Apollinare Nuovo basilica in Ravenna. In the premise of the research is the hypothesis that the formative genesis of the poem and its contents owes much more to the new mosaic cycle of the Palatine Basilica in Ravenna, sponsored by Archbishop Agnellus in the aftermath of the Byzantine retaking, than pointed out so far. This assumption seems supported not only by the similarities between some mosaic details and Venantius’ narrative, but mainly by the symbolic and ideological significance of the female procession in the northern nave. Thus, an attempt is made to offer an original interpretation of the decorative cycle, relying on references of written sources and peculiar iconographic choices made by Agnellus as a patron. It’s likely that Agnellus opted for the formulation of an unprecedented decorative cycle focused on a procession of martyrs precisely envisioned as sponsae Christi on their way to meet the heavenly Bridegroom. It can be assumed that Venantius, just as being commissioned of a poem on ascetic ideology and virginal consecration, found inspiration in the visual imagery evoked by the new mosaic cycle of the Palatine basilica, which he had most likely been able to visit before his departure for Gaul. Being it occurred in the last months of 565 , a terminus ante quem for the completion of Agnellus’ mosaic repairs can be inferred, and hence for the rededication of the church to the Orthodox cult, too.
2022
Sponsae Christi. Venantius Fortunatus’ De Virginitate and the mosaics of St. Apollinare Nuovo basilica in Ravenna / Giulia Marsili. - In: BIZANTINISTICA. - ISSN 1591-0172. - STAMPA. - 22:(2022), pp. 61-93.
Giulia Marsili
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/903428
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