An Observation on the Decoration of the Cathedra of Maximianus
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- マクシミアヌス ノ シキョウザ ソウショク ニ カンスル イチコウサツ
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The front of the Cathedra of Maximianus in Ravenna is adorned with ivory panels representing five standing figures. The central figure is identified as St. John the Baptist. But this figure type of John, wearing a long tunic and a fur mantle and holding an imago clipeata with the Lamb of God, is quite unprecedented. This figure type, which is applied not only to the figures of John the Baptist but also to that of Elijah (mosaics in Sinai), seems to emphasize their ascetic nature. Conceivably it originated in the sixth century from the attire of a monk in a melote. The Lamb of God on the imago clipeata in his left hand is certainly related to John's words, "Behold the Lamb of God" (John, 1 : 29). An imago clipeata, both in the Roman imperial and Christian art, signifies the epiphany of the depicted personage. Thus John the Baptist on the Cathedra is nothing but the representation of the Prodromos who completed the Epiphany of Christ. The fact that John the Baptist is represented here as a monk holding an icon seems to suggest a close connection between the Byzantine monasticism and the cult of icons before the Iconoclasm.
Aesthetics 33 (4), 60-74, 1983
The Japanese Society for Aesthetics