Must-see Art in Palermo: The Mosaics of Monreale

Discover the stunning Monreale Cathedral, and explore the history behind the beauty
Preview Lecture
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1 hour
Product Type
Cathedral of Monreale
Lecture Details
Photos & Highlights
  • Presented by the same world-class experts as our walking tours, Context Lectures highlight must-see attractions, reveal hidden landmarks, and explore the best things to do during your trip so you don’t miss a thing.
Lecture Description
The mosaics in Monreale Cathedral of Sicily prove that the Middle Ages were not “dark”, but instead shined with heavenly light. Built near Palermo under the reign of the Norman kings in the twelfth century, the Duomo of Monreale is one of the greatest masterpieces of art and faith in Italy, on par with the churches of Ravenna and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
Meet Your Expert

Sara is an art historian with doctoral degrees in Medieval and Modern Art History and Classical Antiquities. She is the author of a book, published by the Accademia dei Lincei, on the antiquities collection of Pope Julius II and has written various articles in important scholarly journals on the history of Renaissance and Baroque collections. More recently, she had published a book on some of the most famous paintings of Caravaggio in Rome which introduces a new interpretation of the works, based on philological data, and which is changing the way we look at this artist. For many years, she has combined her philological research with her work as a university instructor, museum educator and professional tourist guide.

In this lecture, art historian Sara Magister will guide participants through the magnificent mosaics not only to experience the beauty of one of the most visited sites in the world, but also to understand the meaning and function of these art works. We will learn about the people and times that produced these marvels, including the Norman rulers and the multicultural team of Byzantine, Arabic, Latin, and French artisans hired to build and decorate Monreale. Together, they created one of the most unique masterpieces in the Mediterranean world. A native Roman, Dr. Sara Magister is a published author and scholar. She will lead participants through this remarkable Sicilian treasure to uncover the visual, spiritual and political meanings in the mosaic decorations and show the connection of heaven and earth represented.
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(4.86) 37 Reviews

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This was an excellent presentation - detailed information about the amazing Monreale mosaics and their historical context, in a relaxed and easy to listen to format.
very informative about these beautiful mosaics. She set the historic background of the Normans well and the history of the church. She discussed enough of the techniques of the mosaicc to understand why they are Heavenly Light.called Heavenly light
I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Magister's conversation. She was well-prepared, knowledgeable, and organized her presentation well. I also thought she spoke rather rapidly, and that if she slowed down, her lecture would have benefitted. She is a delightful presenter, and I think that more time to address her subject would have added immensely. It was for these reasons that I was unable to award her lecture five stars. Overall, a very worthwhile and beautiful presentation, just a bit rushed because of the amount of material about Monreale to present in one hour.