From there, we’ll stroll through Trastevere towards our next destination, the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. As we go, we get a feel for the neighborhood where Cavallini spent much of his life creating frescoes and mosaics for his noble patrons. Then, we’ll get comfortable in Santa Maria and focus on its history and mosaics.
The oldest mosaics, in the apse, are by an anonymous artist and his assistants. It depicts the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin. Those mosaics can be seen in the photo. Completed in circa 1140 for Pope Innocent II, the mosaics subtly celebrate the deposition of several heretics and the subsequent metaphorical marriage of the Church with her celestial Bridegroom. Beneath the apse are instead six, masterful late-Medieval mosaic composed by Cavallini. They illustrate scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. Created for the Stefaneschi family in the 1290s, the innovative mosaics reveal Cavallini’s interest in a more realistic approach to art. He is clearly foreshadowing the Renaissance to come!