Santa Constanza Mausoleum

Santa Constanza Mausoleum
Santa Constanza Mausoleum

The Mausoleum of Santa Constanza, today also known as the Church of Santa Constanza, is one of the best examples of Paleo-Christian art that have come down to us. Under the denomination of Paleo-Christian art we find a set of artistic manifestations that arose in the first six centuries of our era or what is the same, from the development of the Roman Empire to its fall with the incursions of the barbarian peoples; In this sense, we must remember that for many years Christianity was persecuted and it was not until the promulgation of the Edict of Milan in the year 313 that it ceased to be persecuted.


It is precisely at that same time, after the promulgation of the edict and the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine to Christianity, when the work that we analyze here is framed, which in fact, was built by the emperor as a funerary mausoleum for his daughters Helena and Constanza, and that it has taken its name from the latter.

In the fourth century the emperorordered the construction of the mausoleum of his daughters linked to the church or rather basilica of Santa Agnes Outside the Walls,in the city of Rome. As in most of this type of construction, the shallow exterior of the temple does not correspond to the lavish interior space decorated by beautiful and complex mosaics.

Being a mausoleum, it follows the traditional building configuration of circular plan that gaveaccommodate the need to house several people around an object arranged for their veneration. On this occasion, the mausoleum was configured through three concentric circles and descending in size: the exterior, unfortunately, has not survived to this day, but it is supposed to have had an exterior colonnade that surrounded the peristyle of the building. The intermediate wall is characterized by its solid appearance in which openings of different shapes and sizes were opened and which communicated with the central face through a double colonnade; this second space was covered by a barrel vault with brick masonry. The central space was intended to house the tomb of Constantine's daughter and it opens up as a place of connection between heaven and earth thanks to the dome supported by columns that give the space spaciousness and weightlessness.

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