Empress Theodora by Betsy Gallery in Santa Barbara, CA

In the VI Century in Ravenna, Italy the Empress Theodora reigned alongside the Emperor Justinian. Great controversy exists regarding her origins and life. She may have been a Syrian non-royalty who made a name for herself because of her beauty and talents in a variety of popular ways, attracting the attention of Justinian when she moved to Egypt.  Regardless of her "past," she is known to have become a most influential Empress and is sometimes considered a feminist for her support of women's causes.

n any event, one of the most famous mosaics that exist today depicts Theodora and Justinian in royal robes surrounded by their court which is in the Basilica of Saint Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, where their empire was centered. 

My detail of the Empress Theodora mosaic incorporates 24 karat gold tesserae, hand-made Italian glass smalti and other-of-pearl. I set it in mortar using the complex double-reverse technique I learned at the Ravenna Mosaic Art School.

I teach workshops at the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art.

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