Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist (mosaic) (detail of 244978), Byzantine School, (6th century) / Baptistry of Ariani, Ravenna, Italy / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library
This image is part of the Byzantine School collection, characterized by religious figures, rich colors and lavish touches of gold that symbolized heaven’s glory. Transforming biblical stories into art, Byzantine works emphasized Christ, the Virgin Mary, the saints and the apostles. Abstract and symbolic, these icons were painted with extreme clarity so that the underlying narrative would be apparent. Byzantine works exuded a stylistic sophistication rarely conveyed in Western art of this era.