Cappella Palatina, Palermo, Italy
Hosted inside the private chapel of the Norman palace in Palermo, Sicily, this icon is a testament to Byzantine influence in Norman-occupied Sicily during the 12th century. This shimmering mosaic, placed at the top of the dome, was realized with thousands of small-sized pebbles of glass, stone and gold. It was probably created by Byzantine artists hired by Roger II of Sicily. Christ is depicted wearing a blue mantle, against a shimmering golden background. His hand is positioned so as to form the classic “XC” symbol, a reference to the first and last letter of the word “Χριστός” (Christos in ancient Greek).