Architect : Anastasius (commissioner)
Completion: 12th c. (street level)
Locality : Roma
Country : Italy
Building style : Romanesque
Project on the map (green arrow)
My attention was caught in particular by the small-size naked figures, located near the grape tree in the middle of the Mosaic…Two characters have wings, one is riding a dolphin and the second one blows a horn with vigour. The third figure is wingless, and it’s holding the Horn of Plenty and feeding the birds at his feet...The third character described in the Mosaic, the horn blowing “demon”, is not presented in the guidebook at all. However, my eyes just stayed in this figure for a long time, because it seemed to be something quite familiar. Finally, a picture from my memory returned to my mind—a picture of a similar small devil, surrounded by other two devils, blowing a slide trombone…This is an etching of Hugo Simberg (1873–1917) from 1899, called The Swan Song. The horn blowing figure in the Mosaic and the devil playing the trombone in Simberg’s etching are very similar. The proportions of the figures are the same, each character has strong contours, and the hand holding the instrument has the same line. The horn blower in the Mosaic is a bit more boisterous than the little devil of Simberg, and it has wings, Simberg’s devil having a tail instead. There is naive primitivism and archaism in both of the figures, and their spirit is the same.
Pänkäläinen, Merja: “San Clementen kirkon torvensoittajademoni ja Hugo Simbergin piruparka” in Rooman kävijät – Taiteen ja historian löytöretkiä (ed. by Annika Waenerberg), Atena, 2004, pp. 112–114.
Ed. and transl. Katriina Puputti