The dedication and presentation narratives on the Madonna and Child in Moscow by a follower of the Master of the Bardi Saint Francis present two instances of this, for the domical canopy in each not only indicates the location of these events at the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem, but also hints at the eventual enthronement in Heaven of both Mary and Jesus.
Enthronement is more obviously the meaning of the domical baldachin sheltering Nero in the fall of Simon Magus and also that filling the space between Christ and Peter in the consignment of the keys of Heaven, both on the Magdalene Master's Yale dossal (fig.
As was true for actual tombs, altars, and thrones, in all of these narrative scenes and many similar ones, whether they evince multivalent interpretations or not, the fundamental point to bear in mind is that an arched or domical canopy was intended to shelter and concentrate attention upon a particular person or object worthy of high regard, even reverence.
Thus, in Italian narrative art, the sanctity of and reward for effecting such benevolent acts could best be signaled by the presence of an arched or domical canopy.
While the physical analogy between the simple arched and domical canopies over tombs, altars, and thrones on one hand and the more common multiple-bay loggias of charity on the other is less evident, the same understanding possibly applies to them as well.
With the single-bay loggia of the prominently situated Confraternity of the Misericordia in Florence as his point of departure, the author traces the history of arched and domical structures from the Late Middle Ages backward to Antiquity.
59) Whatever the present state of the evidence for individual examples, however, regardless of variations among them reflecting regional and period styles, and irrespective of whether the location of a particular altar within a church called for a baldachin that was fully in-the-round or abutting a wall, it is clear that from the beginning, ciborium designers preferred arched if not fully domical forms.
Baldwin Smith was certainly correct in maintaining that originally the Ark was akin to the domical, early Arabic qobba tent mentioned previously, which beyond its use as a grave marker served individual groups among those nomadic peoples as a portable clan emblem and, comparable to a Christian altar ciborium, as a sanctuary for that clan's divinities in their material aspect.
13 and passim (on the link between the martyrium with its relatively small dome and the larger dome of the East Christian church building); 36-37 (on the domical elements in the narratives portrayed on the Stuma and Riha patens, figs.
For these domical Roman tombs, some Christian, see Lehmann, "The Dome of Heaven," 11, 19, 21, 26; figs.
Other Roman domical mausolea, most with imperial associations, are discussed in Baldwin Smith, The Dome, 24-26, esp.
Thus, for example, the domical canopy spread over the Anointing at Bethany depicted at the upper left of the Mary Magdalene Altarpiece in the Florence Accademia (see note 18 above), when combined with that event's Last Supper-like message of forgiveness, unmistakably marks the supper table in that scene as a Eucharistic altar mensa.