Monreale Cathedral - Table of Contents

Mosaics - Cathedral
Monreale, Sicily

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Byzantine mosaics in apse feature Christ Pantocrator




Jesus expels the money changers from the temple

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark

Detail from previous photo

Detail from previous photo

Monreale is world-renowned for its cathedral, a mixture of Arab, Byzantine and Norman artistic styles framed by traditional Romanesque architecture, all combined in a perfect blend of the best that both the Christian and Muslim worlds of the 12th century had to offer.

The mosaics in Monreale Cathedral are one of the world's largest displays of this art, perhaps surpassed only by Istanbul's famous Basilica of Saint Sofia, once an Orthodox church.

Monreale's mosaics emblazon 6,340 square meters of the duomo's interior surface, more than those of the splendid church of Saint Mark in Venice.

These Byzantine mosaics differ from their origins in that they are flat and without perspective, probably due to the fact that many of the craftsmen were Arabs who excelled at flat geometric design. The Normans who built this cathedral had recently (12th century) conquered Sicily, which had been ruled for two centuries by Arabs.

The dominant gold color in the mosaics was achieved by encasing gold leaf in glass.

The cathedral is famous for its interior with magnificent gold 12th-13th-century mosaics, representing episodes from the Old Testament, which occupy the nave, aisles, choir, and transepts.

Photos and their arrangement © 2007 Chuck LaChiusa
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