Dumbarton Oaks/Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University

“AND GOD BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY,” reads the Latin text on this mosaic from the atrium of the cathedral of San Marco in Venice, Italy. God is wearing a crossed halo and carrying a processional cross. Seated in the middle of what seems to be his royal court, he lays his right hand upon the brow of the seventh day, personified as one of seven angels.

In the Hebrew text, Genesis states that God ceased upon the seventh day. The seven-day week concluding on the Sabbath is an invention unique to Israel. In describing the Creation in terms of a seven-day week, the biblical authors establish a special connection between themselves and the work of God.