Entrance of San Vitale, Ravenna, ItalyArtist:
John Wharlton Bunney
, British, 1828 - 1882
Material and Medium: pen and ink on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 595 x 423mm
Support: 210 x 195mm
Accession Number: CGSGB743
This is one of a series of pen-and-ink scenes that Bunney produced in the ancient city of Ravenna. The city’s Ostrogoth (Roman-German) bishops built the basilica of San Vitale between AD527 and AD548, and it was funded by a Greek banker.
San Vitale is 'Byzantine' in style, which is seen through the severe architectural appearance, shape of its apses, its narrow bricks and rounded windows. The Byzantine style came from Turkey, but the basilica's dome and octagonal shape is in keeping with Roman architecture. As few buildings of this age survive, especially in this condition, the basilica is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Basilica of San Vitale is most famous for its interior, which is filled with 1500 year-old mosaics. These mosaics depict biblical figures, bishops, the retinue and full-length portraits of the Roman Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora (who probably funded the decorations) and various flowers and animals.