The East Apse in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

5th century
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

At the end of the apse is the mosaic of a gridiron, a bookcase, and a deacon entering with a processional cross and a book. Above that, a mosaic of two saints, two doves, and a fountain. The doves and the fountain they approach are echoed in the corresponding lunette in the west apse, which in turn echoes the mosaic below it of harts approaching streams of water. The motif expresses the themes of immortality and repentance. (See this page for an extended commentary on the deacon and this page for the saints and doves.) The image of the deacon and gridiron relates those themes to the union with Christ achieved by the self-giving of martyrdom.

View the apse in full resolution.

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