Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

 

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA
Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Saracen arches and Byzantine mosaics complement each other within the Palatine Chapel

The Palatine Chapel (Italian: Cappella Palatina), is the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily situated on the first floor at the center of the Palazzo Reale in Palermo, southern Italy.

Also referred to as a Palace church or Palace chapel,[1] it was commissioned by Roger II of Sicily in 1132 to be built upon an older chapel (now the crypt) constructed around 1080. It took eight years to build, receiving a royal charter the same year, with the mosaics being only partially finished by 1143.[1] The sanctuary, dedicated to Saint Peter, is reminiscent of a domed basilica. It has three apses, as is usual in Byzantine architecture, with six pointed arches (three on each side of the central nave) resting on recycled classical columns.

Mosaics

mosaic in the Palatine Chapel

The mosaics of the Palatine Chapel are of unparalleled elegance as concerns elongated proportions and streaming draperies of figures. They are also noted for subtle modulations of colour and luminance. The oldest are probably those covering the ceiling, the drum, and the dome. The shimmering mosaics of the transept, presumably dating from the 1140s and attributed to Byzantine artists, with an illustrated scene, along the north wall, of St. John in the desert and a landscape of Agnus Dei.[2] Below this are five saints, the Greek fathers of the church, St. Gregory of Nissa, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom and St. Nicholas.[2] The three central figures, St. Gregory, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, allude to the Orthodox cult known as the Three Hierarchs, which originated fifty years earlier.[2] Every composition is set within an ornamental frame, not dissimilar to that used in contemporaneous mosaic icons.

Giacobbe Giusti, CAPPELLA PALATINA

Roger II of Sicily depicted on the muqarnas ceiling in an Arabic style.

The rest of the mosaics, dated to the 1160s or the 1170s, is executed in a cruder manner and feature Latin (rather than Greek) inscriptions. Probably a work of local craftsmen, these pieces are more narrative and illustrative than transcendental. A few mosaics have a secular character and represent oriental flora and fauna. This may be the only substantial passage of secular Byzantine mosaic extant today.

Chapel

Cappella Palatina in Palermo Sicily

Muqarnas, a common element in Arabic architecture

The chapel combines harmoniously a variety of styles: the Norman architecture and door decor, the Arabic arches and script adorning the roof, the Byzantine dome and mosaics. For instance, clusters of four eight-pointed stars, typical for Muslim design, are arranged on the ceiling so as to form a Christian cross.

Other remarkable features of the chapel include the muqarnas ceiling, which is spectacular. The hundreds of facets were painted, notably with many purely ornamental vegetal and zoomorphic designs but also with scenes of daily life and many subjects that have not yet been explained. Stylistically influenced by Iraqi ‘Abbasid art, these paintings are innovative in their more spatially aware representation of personages and of animals.

The chapel has been considered a union of a Byzantine church sanctuary and a Western basilica nave.[3] The sanctuary, is of an “Eastern” artistic nature, while the nave reflects “Western” influences.[3]

Nave

The nave, constructed under Roger II, did not contain any Christian images.[4] These were added later by Roger II’s successors, William I and William II.[4] The nave’s ceiling consists of Greek, Latin and inscriptions.[3]

The frame for the royal throne sets against the west wall of the nave.[5] There are six steps leading up to where the throne would be, along with two heraldic lions in two roundels upon the spandrels over the throne frame gabel.[5]

Sanctuary

As an expression of Norman culture, St. Dionysius and St. Martin are represented in the sanctuary.[6] Mosaics are of Byzantine culture in their composition and subjects.[7] The apex of the dome consists of the Pantokrator, with rows of angels, prophets, evangelists and saints.[7] The Byzantine motif ends abruptly with scenes from Christ’s life along the south wall of the southern transept arm, while the north wall consists of warrior saints.[7]

Analysis

Slobodan Ćurčić considers the Palatine Cappella a reflection of Middle Byzantine art.[5] Illustrating architectural and artistic genius to juxtapose Sicily’s “melting pot” culture.[8]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappella_Palatina#CITEREF.C4.86ur.C4.8Di.C4.871987

La chiesa ipogea

http://www.giacobbegiusti.com

Advertisements

Giacobbe Giusti, Monreale Cathedral

Giacobbe Giusti, Monreale Cathedral

Christ Pantocrator

 

The cathedral

The outside of the cathedral is plain, except the aisle walls and three eastern apses, which are decorated with intersecting pointed arches and other ornaments inlaid in marble.

The outsides of the principal doorways and their pointed arches are magnificently enriched with carving and coloured inlay, a curious combination of three styles – Norman-French, Byzantine and Arab.

William II offering the Monreale Cathedral to the Virgin Mary.

The cloister of the abbey of Monreale.

Although not so refined as mosaics in Cefalù and the Palazzo dei Normanni, the cathedral interior nevertheless contains the largest cycle of Byzantine mosaics extant in Italy.

Sicilia Monreale4 tango7174.jpg

The cathedral of Monreale is one of the greatest extant examples of Norman architecture anywhere. It was begun in 1174 by William II, and in 1182 the church, dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, was, by a bull of Pope Lucius III, elevated to the rank of a metropolitan cathedral.

The church is a national monument of Italy and one of the most important attractions of Sicily. Its size is 102 meters(334 ft) long and 40 meters wide(131 ft.)

The archiepiscopal palace and monastic buildings on the south side were of great size and magnificence, and were surrounded by a massive precinct wall, crowned at intervals by twelve towers. This has been mostly rebuilt, and but little now remains except ruins of some of the towers, a great part of the monks’ dormitory and frater, and the splendid cloister, completed about 1200.

The latter is well preserved, and is one of the finest Italian cloisters both for size and beauty of detail now extant. It is about 2,200 m2, with pointed arches decorated with diaper work, supported on pairs of columns in white marble, 216 in all, which were alternately plain and decorated by bands of patterns in gold and colors, made of glass tesserae, arranged either spirally or vertically from end to end of each shaft. The marble capitals are each carved with foliage, biblical scenes and allegories, no two being alike. At one angle, a square pillared projection contains the marble fountain or monks’ lavatorium, evidently the work of Muslim sculptors.

The church’s plan is a mixture of Eastern Rite and Roman Catholic arrangement. The nave is like an Italian basilica, while the large triple-apsed choir is like one of the early three-apsed churches, of which so many examples still exist in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. It is, in fact, like two quite different churches put together endwise.

The basilican nave is wide, with narrow aisles. Monolithic columns of grey oriental granite (except one, which is of cipolin marble) on each side support eight pointed arches much stilted. The capitals of these (mainly Corinthian) are also of the classical period. There is no triforium, but a high clerestory with wide two-light windows, with simple tracery like those in the nave-aisles and throughout the church, which give sufficient light.

The other half, eastern in two senses, is both wider and higher than the nave. It also is divided into a central space with two aisles, each of the divisions ending at the east with an apse. The roofs throughout are of open woodwork very low in pitch, constructionally plain, but richly decorated with colour, now mostly restored. At the west end of the nave are two projecting towers, with a narthex (entrance) between them. A large open atrium, which once existed at the west, is now completely destroyed, having been replaced by a Renaissance portico by Giovanni Domenico and Fazio Gagini (1547–1569).

It is, however, the large extent (6,500 m2) of the impressive glass mosaics covering the interior which make this church so splendid. With the exception of a high dado, made of marble slabs with bands of mosaic between them, the whole interior surface of the walls, including soffits and jambs of all the arches, is covered with minute mosaic-pictures in bright colors on a gold ground. The mosaic pictures are arranged in tiers, divided by horizontal and vertical bands. In parts of the choir there are five of these tiers of subjects or single figures one above another.

The half dome of the central apse has a colossal half-length figure of Christ, with a seated Virgin and Child below; the other apses have full-length figures of St Peter and St Paul. Inscriptions on each picture explain the subject or saint represented; these are in Latin, except some few which are in Greek. The subjects in the nave begin with scenes from the Book of Genesis, illustrating the Old Testament types of Christ and His scheme of redemption, with figures of those who prophesied and prepared for His coming. Around the lower tier and the choir are subjects from the New Testament, chiefly representing Christ’s miracles and suffering, with apostles, evangelists and other saints. The design, execution and choice of subjects all appear to be of Byzantine origin, the subjects being selected from the Menologion of Basil II drawn up by the emperor Basil II in the 10th century.

The tomb of William I of Sicily (the founder’s father), a magnificent porphyry sarcophagus contemporary with the church, under a marble pillared canopy, and the founder William II’s tomb, erected in 1575, were both shattered by a fire, which in 1811 broke out in the choir, injuring some of the mosaics and destroying all the fine walnut choir-fittings, the organs and most of the choir roof. The tombs were rebuilt, and the whole of the injured part of the church restored a few years after the fire. The present organ, revised in 1967 by Ruffatti, has six manuals and 102 stops.

On the north of the choir are the tombs of Margaret of Navarre, wife of William I, and her two sons Roger and Henry, together with an urn containing the viscera of Saint Louis of France, who died in 1270. The pavement of the triple choir, though much restored, is a specimen of marble and porphyry mosaic in opus alexandrinum, with signs of Arab influence in its main lines. The mosaic pavement of the nave was completed in the 16th century, and has disks of porphyry and granite with marble bands intermingled with irregular lines.

Two baroque chapels were added in the 17th and 18th centuries, which are shut off from the rest of the church. The bronze doors of the mosaic-decorated portal on the left side was executed by Barisano da Trani in 1179.

Giacobbe Giusti, Monreale Cathedral

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monreale#The_Cathedral

http://www.giacobbegiusti.com