Basilica of Sant'Agnese, apse mosaic. Pen on paper.
Basilica of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls
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Dedication: Saint Agnese (c.291-304ad.)
Built: c. 315ad
relics: the bodies of Saint Agnes and Saint Emerentia
Orientation: Winter Solstice
The first basilica on this site, whose remains can still be seen, was probably built during the period shortly after Constantine took power in Rome in 312ad., along with a large number of other Christian buildings. This land, like the other Christian sites, belonged to the imperial family, and was adjacent to one of the catacombs revered by the Christian community as housing the remains of martyrs, prominent among them Saint Agnes. The patronage of this particular basilica is attributed to the daughter of Constantine, Constantia, who is said to have had a special regard for Saint Agnes, and it is thought to have originally been not so much a place of worship, but rather a large covered cemetry. The mausoleum of Constantia and her sister Helena was integrated into this structure.
The apse mosaic of the present Basilica of Sant'Agnese is unusual for a mosaic of it's type in Rome, in that Agnese stands at the centre of the composition, a place usually reserved for Christ, who is absent here. The central position of the titular saint of the church is more common in the purely Byzantine mosaics of northern Italy, particularly Ravenna, and may be due to the close connections to the Byzantine emperors of the Pope who commissioned the church, Honorius I.
The apse mosaic of the present Basilica of Sant'Agnese is unusual for a mosaic of it's type in Rome, in that Agnese stands at the centre of the composition, a place usually reserved for Christ, who is absent here. The central position of the titular saint of the church is more common in the purely Byzantine mosaics of northern Italy, particularly Ravenna, and may be due to the close connections to the Byzantine emperors of the Pope who commissioned the church, Honorius I.
Official website of the Basilica of Sant'Agnese