To Pass Through History and Enter Sanctity: the ‘Last Judgment’ mosaic of Prague Cathedral

Susannette Burroughs : History of Art

Mentor: Professor Jacqueline Jung, History of Art

The "Last Judgment" ("Golden Gate") mosaic is located on the southern exterior of Saint Vitus' Cathedral at Prague, a fourteenth century Gothic monument. The mosaic was a framing device for activity which occurred before and behind it: it functioned to separate and relate sacred and secular pasts and presents as a permeable barrier, one which separated and joined secular and ecclesiastical realms of functionality. This project is an investigation of the high degree to which this mosaic promoted powerful localized and international messages of imperial, dynastic, and religious power in conjunction with the ceremony and activity it silhouetted. The project at hand will explore the function of one piece of art within the multi-functional cathedral environment of Prague but also illustrate how a moment of time--historically, religiously, and stylistically--was translated into a charged representation through visual culture.