back next

Vatican and Rome Judaica Mosaic

Moses on Pietà Chapel Corbel
Noah and Ark on Pietà Chapel Corbel

Jeremiah on Pietà Chapel Corbel

Abraham and Issac on Pietà Chapel Corbel

Ponte Fabricio, Tiber River and Great Synagogue

Rome's Great Synagogue

Dome in Rome's Great Synagogue


view close up
Kosher Restaurant on Via del Portico d'Ottavia

Menu, bread and artichokes at Kosher Restaurant

Menu at Kosher Restaurant

Via del Portico d'Ottavia Scene

Adam and Eve on Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Creation Images on Sistine Chapel Ceiling

The Descent from Mount Sinai

Moses near the Spanish Steps

Rome, Vatican, Judaica, Old Testament, Photos
Imagetripping sells beautiful framed distintive images of Judaica on display in Rome and the Vatican.

Many of the images in this gallery were captured during a tour of the Vatican, or in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome.
The first image on the left is a special mosaic I created. It includes images of Abraham and Moses from the Pieta Chapel ceiling. These are flanking an image of the Great Synagogue originally called the Synagogue of Emancipation. All three are placed on top of Ponte Fabricio also known as Bridge of the Four Heads or Jews Bridge. Placed onto the bride is the sign depicting Largo 16 Ottobre 1943 when the Nazis threatened to take Rome's Jews to concentration camps unless the community came up with 110 pounds of gold in 24 hours. It did, but the Nazis later took the Jews. Also on the bridge under the middle arch, is the scene from the Arch of Titus depicting the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD by Roman soldiers. Note the legions are carrying off a menorah from the destroyed temple. The significance of this mosaic is that Rome's Jews are descendants of modern day Israel who arrived as POW's of the Roman Legions, survived living in the ghetto created by Pope Paul IV in 1555, the rise of fascism and the Nazis, and are part of a thriving community of 17,000 Jews in Rome.

Images 2 through 5 were captured directly from the Vatican. I was struck by the beauty of mosaic pictures on the Pietà Chapel ceiling of key figures described in the Old Testament. The corbels show Noah's Ark, Abraham and Issac, Moses with the 10 Commandments, and Jeremiah in the ruins of Jerusalem. There is little information describing these mosaics and this is one of the few presentations of these pictures. The Vatican web site has indicated that these mosaics were executed by F. Cristofari to drawings by Ferri and Pietro da Cortona.
Image 6 captures the Tiber River, Ponte Fabricio, and the Synagogue. Image 7 presents the magnficent facade of the synagoge while Image 8 captures the beauty of the synagogue's magnificent dome which is painted with the colors of the rainbow, stars symbolic of God's promise that Abraham's decendant's would be as numerous as stars in the sky and sand tones reminding us of the wondering in the desert for 40 years.
Images 9-12 capture the life on Via del Portico d'Ottavia, the main street of the old ghetto which features kosher restaurants proudly serving blend of traditional Jewish and Roman cuisine and those tasty artichokes.

Images 13-15 capture the Sistine Chapel images of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Image 13 features the creation of Adam (middle) and Eve (top), 14 features images of the creation including (bottom to top) light to darkness, sun and plants, and water separated from earth. The following is an excerpt from the Vatican website describing the image of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. "Just after the structure of the Sistine Chapel was completed in 1481, Sixtus IV summoned various Florentine painters to work in the chapel, including Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli, Signorelli and Umbrian artists such as Perugino and Pinturicchio. They were asked to paint the side walls, divided horizontally in three sections and vertically spaced by elegant pilasters. The “Handing Over of the Tables of the Law” was attributed to Cosimo Rosselli and Piero di Cosimo. This painting illustrates the Bible’s account of the Golden Calf. Moses had climbed Mount Sinai to receive the tables of the Law (Exodus 23:12-15) and after they had waited for him, the Jews gathered around the priest Aaron. Then, gathering rings and other gold objects, they forged a golden calf, placed it on an altar and began to worship it. When Moses came back from the mountain with the tables and saw that his people had disobeyed the prohibition to make sacred images, he broke the tables in fury (Exodus 32:1-19). Botticelli’s “Punishment of Korah, Dathan and Abiram” refers to when the Jews revolted against the Lord during their Journey to the Promised Land. They complained about the terrible conditions in which Moses forced them to live, but God punished them: suddenly the earth parted under their feet, swallowing them and all their possessions (Numbers, 16)." This fresco is also called "The Descent from Mount Sinai".
Image 16 captures the statue of Moses, just down the street from the famous "Spanish Steps", near the Spanish embassy.