The Virgin Enthroned

Circa 1265-85
Basilica of St. Praxedes, Rome

Mary wears her traditional red robe and blue mantle with a star above the forehead. Given the throne, the frontal gaze, and the child's position on his mother's lap, the mosaic is reminiscent of "Throne of Wisdom" popular in this period. But instead of a book the child holds a scroll with the words EGO SUM LUX, "I am the light."

Because of the curved shape of the niche the names of the two female saints do not show up in the photograph, and we did not record them when at the basilica. Only the word SC¯A ("saint") is visible in the upper left. One would guess they would be Saints Praxedes and Pudentiana. The letters left and right of Mary may possibly spell out MATER DEI, "Mother of God."

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Read more about images of the Throne of Wisdom.

Photographed at the basilica by Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.