Peter and St. Paul Present St. Praxedes and St. Pudentiana to Christ
Apse, Church of St. Praxedes, Rome
In the "basin" of the apse stand the seven dominant figures in the composition: On our left are (left to right) Pope Paschal I, St. Praxedes, and St. Paul (see detail). Next come (left to right) Christ, St. Peter, St. Pudentiana, and a deacon saint who may be St. Zeno or St. Ciriacus (see detail).
Paschal I holds a model of this church, which he commissioned, in a gesture of offfering. His hands are covered by a cloth, emblematic of a gift to or from an emperor -- as are the hands of the virgin saints, who offer their martyrs' crowns.
On a branch of the palm tree on our left is a phoenix, symbol of Christ in the Resurrection. From the cloud above Christ the hand of the Father reaches down with a crown for the Son.
Directly below Christ in the lower band of the composition the Lamb of God stands on a small mound from with flow the four rivers of Eden. Twelve other lambs approach the Lamb of God from Bethlehem (on the left) and Jerusalem (on the right).
The apsidal arch features the cast of characters of the Book of Revelation. In the medallion at the very center, the Lamb of God sits on his throne, under which is a book with the seven seals. To our right of the Lamb are (left to right) two angels, the eagle of St. John the Evangelist, and the ox of St. Luke. Left of the Lamb are (left to right) the lion of St. Mark, the angel of St. Matthew, and two angels. Below, left and right, the 24 elders of Revelation bring crowns to the Lamb.
Yet another arch precedes the apsidal arch with another image of Christ inside the heavenly Jerusalem.
More of St.
Praxedes and St. Pudentiana
Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke