The First Day of Creation: The Heavens and the Earth

12th-13th century
Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

The inscription is Genesis 1:1, in principio creavit deus celum et terram, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," but the image also covers verse 2, "And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The mosaicist takes the "face of the waters" literally and shows the "Spirit of God" in the form of a dove with a halo proceeding from the Creator above. The "darkness on the waters" is visualized as a dark band transpierced by the dove's path.

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