The Apse Vault in the Euphrasian Basilica: The Virgin Enthroned with Angels and Saints

6th century
Apse vault in the Euphrasian Basilica, Poreč, Croatia

The central composition with the Virgin and Child enthroned between archangels is typical of icons from the 6th century; Weitzmann, The Icon, has a number of similar examples, though the crown held from above by the Hand of God is a western touch.1 In Weitzmann's examples, the angels are identified as Michael and Gabriel either by attributes or by labels. Here each carries the knobbed sceptre that signifies his authority. The Virgin wears the mantle and tucked-in veil typical of portrayals in this period, and the Child blesses the viewer with his fingers in the "Old Believer" configuration.

The haloed figure on the left is St. Maurus, the first bishop of Poreč, offering his martyr's crown to the Virgin and Child. To the left of him is Euphrasius, the bishop who had the church built. Clipei with female saints line the outer edge of the vault to the left and right of the Lamb of God symbol of Jesus Christ. On the far right, unidentified, are two martyrs and another saint.

View the entire apse
Detail of the Lamb of God symbol
Details of some of the female saints: Cecilia, Agnes, AgathaCecilia, Valeria, Basilissa, Felicity, Justina

More of the Virgin and Child
More of St. Maurus
More of the Archangel Michael
More of the Archangel Gabriel
More of the lamb symbol

This image in full resolution

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

1 Weitzmann, Icon, 45, 47, 51, 65.