Maria EcclesiaAtttibuted to Pietro Cavallini
Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome
The scroll in the woman's hand links her to the bride in the Song of Solomon. It reads Leva eius sub capite meo et dextera illius amplesabitur me, "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me" (2:6, 8:3). Christian writers interpret the bride as Ecclesia, the Church: see my page on Ecclesia.
At the same time, the phrase in Christ's book links her to the Mary of the Assumption: Veni electa mea et ponam in te thronum meum, "Come, my chosen one, and I shall put you on my throne," from Christ's words to Mary in the Golden Legend's account of her welcome in Heaven (Ryan II, 79).
The image also has Christological significance in that the two figures on the throne form an ensemble representing Christ the God-Man, who is also represented by the Lamb of God (note halo with cross) directly below the throne.
The other lambs represent the apostles, 12 in all.
Chris Nyborg's site on this church identifies the standing figures as (left to right) Pope Innocent II (who restored the church in the 13th century), St. Lawrence, Pope St. Callixtus, St. Peter, Pope St. Cornelius, Pope St. Julius (who built the church in the 4th century), and St. Calepodius.
More of Ecclesia
Photograph: Michelle Roberts