Torriti’s splendid mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore
With Filippo Rusuti and Pietro Cavallini, Jacopo Torriti was one of the leading figures in 13th-century painting in Rome, just as it overcame the figurativeness of its Byzantine influences.
Our gallery showcases one of this great artist’s two major works: the mosaics in the apse of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (his other masterpiece is the mosaic in the apse of San Giovanni in Laterano, also in Rome).
We don’t know much about Torriti: he was probably a Franciscan friar born in the area around Siena, and worked in Assisi with Filippo Rusuti to decorate the nave of the Upper Basilica of Saint Francis , perhaps while Cimabue was working for the same church. Around 1295, he created the mosaics of the Basilica Liberiana for pope Nicholas IV, the first pontiff to belong to the Order of Friars Minor.
The cycle represents “The crowning of the Holy Virgin” in the cavity of the apse, and “Scenes from Mary’s life” (“The Annunciation”, “The Nativity of Jesus”, “The Dormition of the Virgin”, “The Adoration of the Magi”, “The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple”) in the band below.