Art Criticism, Christ the Good Shepherd, Ravenna
Roberta Reagan, Facilitator
Art Appreciation – ART170N
September 3, 2008
When I first saw the picture of the mosaic of the Good Shepherd, from the entrance wall of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, Italy my eyes were drawn immediately to the circular effects in the work of art. From the half circle surrounding the figure of the haloed Jesus to the domed effect of the dark blue with the many circles within a circle, circles seemed to dominate. It made me think of the cycle of both life and death. Jesus is the central figure in the mosaic dressed in his golden robe with a purple cloth draped across his left shoulder and softly falling across his lap. An even amount of white sheep, three on each side, are standing or lying with all heads turned toward Jesus. Jesus is seated in the center on three blocks of stone layered one on top of each other. There also is a row of squares around the bottom of the mosaic in browns and greens as well as two boulders on either side of Jesus. Behind the boulders is spiky looking greenery as well as greenery outlining the sheep, scattered across the front, as well as outlining Jesus right shoulder.
A wooden cross is being held by Jesus left hand. He is holding it in an upright position almost as if it is a staff. His right hand appears as if it is reaching out to a standing lamb nearest to him.
The blue surrounding the figures is a shade that resembles the look of the ski just before dusk, giving a peaceful feeling. The domed effect looks as if the heavens above are providing a feeling of protection. The browns in the mosaic are earth tones which bring to mind Mother Earth. The golden robe and the purple cloth draping across Jesus is a royal color denoting that he is the king of his followers. The lambs are white, which to me is, the color of purity and goodness giving me a feeling of hope that there is still good in the world. The...