The Procession of Virgins at Sant'Apollinare Nuovo: The Magi and the Virgin and Child

6th century
Church of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna

The Procession of Virgins goes the length of the left wall of the nave, just above the columns, led by the the three Magi, who themselves follow the Star of Bethlehem as they bring their gifts to the Virgin and Child at the east end of the mosaic. Deliyannis notes that "many depictions of imperial court scenes include representations of foreign peoples paying tribute to the enthroned ruler." She also suggests that the three may represent the men who would lead a procession of virgins into the church.1

The parts above the waists of the Magi are not original but a 19th-century restoration.2

View the entire left wall
Detail: The Magi
This image in full resolution

More of the Virgin Enthroned
More of the Magi

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

1 Deliyannis 169.
2 Ibid. 166.