The DeŽsis with the Evangelists

1220-1230
Fresco
Apsidal vault in the Church of St. John, Taufers, Italy

The style of this DeŽsis is like those in the Orthodox tradition, in which Christ holds a book in his left hand and Mary and John the Baptist stand on the on the left and right. Western DeŽses often omit the book and appear in the context of the Last Judgment and/or with angels bearing the instruments of the Passion.

The rest of the composition is segmented by four bands featuring five saints each. (Taking the above photo counter-clockwise from 7 o'clock, we see five bishops and abbots, five male martyrs, five female saints, and five royal saints.)

At the apex of each segment is a winged creature representing one of the evangelists. Below that creature in each case are two persons writing at desks. The one to the right in the St. John segment has written the words [H]OMILIA GREGORII PAPE SUPER IOANNEM, "Homily of Pope Gregory on John," so it seems safe to assume that the other writers are also commentators on the gospels. However, Gregory's is the only book whose writing has survived the deterioration of the fresco.

Detail photos:

This image in full resolution
More of the Evangelists

Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.