Master from Lucca (attr.), Mosaic with natural motivs (first register)
- Master from Lucca (attr.)
- C. 1240
- Baptistery of Saint John
- Original location
- Interior, vault, first register from the top
- Polychrome tesserae of glass paste, gold
This register, the oldest of all the vault mosaics, was attributed by Vasari to two mosaicists, the Florentine Andrea Tafi, and a Greek master known only as Apollonio, however it is more likely by a master from Lucca, working in about 1240.
This register is divided into two parts: in the centre is an octagonal frame with a vegetal decoration of green volutes and coloured flowers. Around it is a second band, worked in the effect of a curtain drawn back from the registers below. Along the edge of the curtain are shell elements, with vases rising from the corners. From these, there sprout more elaborate vegetal scrolls, topped by medallions with human heads. Between and below the volutes there are fountains of complex shape, providing water to pairs of animals: deer, peacocks, rams, herons.
All of the decorative elements composing this section are symbolic, intended to indicate the entirety of Creation: plants, men and animals of sea and land, as willed by God at the beginning of time, according to the Book of Genesis. All creatures are represented in a harmonious whole and pristine purity, prior to the sin of Adam and Eve. The fountains offering water are ancient symbols of God's love, the source of eternal life for all his creatures, but also reference the font and water of Baptism, through which man is washed of sin.