Monday, July 5, 2010

From whence cometh my profile picture?

From whence cometh my profile picture? It’s a detail of an...More......18” prayer cushion that I made for a friend, who is very religious. The design is based on the ceiling of the (so-called*) Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy (for a pretty good, but slightly dark, photo available online, though not the source of my work, see: of the 5th century A.D., in the Early Christian period.

I used just the central crucifix and surrounding “crystal” spheres into which the heavenly stars were suspended (according to ancient and medieval astronomy), without the figures of the Four Evangelists (which would have ended up too stylized in such a “small” image).

If you are going to Italy, and love gorgeous art, I highly suggest spending a few days visiting the mosaics in the Early Christian and Byzantine churches in Ravenna!

Not wanting to put my own portrait photo online, for reasons of privacy, I realized that a detail of the starry sky of my needlepoint would be a perfect icon for my profile.

The design is a good example, too, of being liberally inspired by an image, without copying exactly…I drew the circles on my canvas with a compass, and positioned the stars freehand.

(*The building was not identified as a mausoleum, nor are there any records of the sarcophagi, until the 9th century A.D. and the Carolingian epoch, fixated, as it was, for important political, cultural and religious reasons, on relics. The little cruciform building—now a good three yards/meters shorter, due to the build-up of dirt and detritus over the centuries—was, in my opinion, a sacristy; see my M.A. thesis, 1983, on the So-Called Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, thesis advisor Dr. D. Brinkerhoff, Univ. of California at Riverside)

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