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Eufrasiana Basilica



New Documentary Evidence for the Restoration of the Sixth-Century Wall Mosaics at the Eufrasiana in Porec

Authors: Ann Terry and Tom Muhlstein


This study constitutes a preliminary report on new documentary evidence for the 19th century restoration of the sixth century wall mosaics at the cathedral in Porec. Colorful wall mosaics survive in the apses, triumphal arch and external facades of the basilica known as the Eufrasiana, named after its mid-sixth century founder, Bishop Eufrasius. The small, three-aisled basilica forms the heart of a well preserved episcopal ensemble situated along the shoreline of ancient Parentium (Parenzo, Porec), on the Istrian coast, today part of Croatia (Figs. 1-2). The most substantially preserved wall mosaics line the main apse and the triumphal arch (Fig. 3). The mosaics in the two smaller side apses are partially preserved (Figs. 4-5), while those on the upper east and west facades, with the exception of the window register on the latter, are fragmentary (Figs. 6-8). As is conventional in the period, subjects are set within architectural units defined by decorative bands: Christ and the apostles (triumphal arch, Figs. 9-11), medallions with female saints (intrados), an enthroned Virgin and Child, flanked by archangels, martyrs and, as identified by inscriptions, Maurus (confessor and bishop), Bishop Eufrasius, Archdeacon Claudius, and his son Eufrasius (half dome of the apse, Fig. 12), the dedicatory inscription (base of half dome), the Annunciation (Fig. 13), Visitation (Fig. 14), and standing figures of Zacharias, an archangel, and John the Baptist (piers between windows; and sides of apse), Christ crowning SS. Cosmas and Damian (north apse, Fig. 5), and Christ crowning S. Severus and Apollinarus (south apse, Fig. 4). On the exterior, only faint traces survive of the gables of the facades: Christ in Majesty (west, Fig. 8) and a scene that might have been the Transfiguration (east, Figs. 6-7). Four holy figures and seven candelabra appear on the window register of the lower west facade (Figs. 8, 15).


The Wall Mosaics at the Cathedral of Eufrasius in Porec - A Preliminary Report

Authors: Ann Terry and Henry Maguire


This article provides the findings of a study of the 6th century wall mosaics at the Eufrasiana. It was based on a visual analysis of the lower mosaics (to the inscription) done from scaffolding during June of 1997. After a review of the conservation history and pre-restoration records, the authors characterize three phases of mosaics: the original work, a limited restoration from 1886 (Solerti), and an extensive restoration from 1890-1900 (Bornia). Analyses are offered of both the original and restored tesserae, setting beds and setting techniques. Bornia took great pains to incorporate as much as possible of the original mosaics.


A Preliminary Report on The Wall Mosaics at the Cathedral of Eufrasius in Porec

Authors: Ann Terry and Henry Maguire

Abstract Full report to be published in:
Hortus Artium Medievalium (1998),

We here offer the results of a study of the 6th century wall mosaics at Porec, fieldwork from June of 1997. The study had two objectives: (1) A visual examination of the mosaic surface from scaffolding, in order to assess the materials and techniques used by the original mosaicists and the subsequent restorers of the mosaics; (2) The preparation of a computerized data base of images of the mosaics. The article begins with brief reviews of the conservation history of the mosaics and pre-restoration descriptions and visual records. It then provides the results of the visual analyses of tesserae, setting bed and setting technique, characterizing the work of the original mosaicists and those of two separate restorations.


Recording the EUFRASIAN APSE MOSAICS (1997)

Author: Steve Nickerson :


The first concern during the 1997 Recording of the Eufrasiana Basilica was to have, by the end of the two week period, an index of the mosaics of the dome that would allow any observations, comments, notes, or photographs to be labeled and stored in such a way that they could be found with a minimum of effort and a minimum of knowledge of the logic or software used to organize the material.

There were two main recording activities: a geometric recording using CART which resulted in the 3-D CAD model seen elsewhere in these pages, and a photographic recording that aimed to cover the entire apse to a level of detail which would allow the tessera to be counted.


A Database for the Long Term

Author: Steve Nickerson :



How do you record an element of mankind's patrimony, perhaps millennia old, for an audience both current and in the distant future, using tools unthought of a decade ago and sure to be obsolete a decade hence?

Such material needs to be accessible, not only to as wide an audience as possible but for a very long time which is a much more difficult problem. Using electronic media we probably have very little hope of our work being accessible to an audience even 100 years in the future which is a far cry from the 14 centuries we are studying.

Still we are not going to start carving anything in stone (life expectancy: millennia) and probably not much will be put on vellum (life expectancy: centuries), or even computer paper (life expectancy: decades). However we do what we can and that can quite a bit better than a useful life to be terminated with the next release (or demise) of a database program or operating system.

This article will describe our attempts to build a database for the apse mosaics of the Basilica of Eufrasius in Porec Croatia suitable for both our ongoing research and as an archival reference with the additional bonus that it provides easy access via the World Wide Web.

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