"Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD." -- Psalm 36:6
Both today's Genesis and Psalm passages celebrate the gift of the animal kingdom. The mosaic representation of the animals created on Day 6 of creation is from the Palatine Chapel in Palermo, Sicily. Commissioned by Roger II of Sicily in 1130-40, the chapel is one of the most beautiful of all medieval Christian churches.
"At Palermo, Roger drew round him distinguished men of various races, such as the famous Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi and the Greek historian Nilus Doxopatrius. The king welcomed the learned, and he practised toleration towards the several creeds, races and languages of his realm. To administer his domain he hired many Greeks and Arabs, who were trained in long-established traditions of centralized government." [Wikipedia]
"The Palatine Chapel represents twelfth-century art patronage of the highest order; it is an extraordinary ensemble of materials, techniques, and styles. The pavement and wall revetments make extensive use of porphyry, serpentine breccia, and other colored stones in a variety of intricate ornamental patterns. The iconic and narrative mosaics that cover the upper walls of the entire chapel and the vaults of the eastern end are executed on a scintillating gold ground.
In addition, the chapel is outfitted with a set of bronze doors to the west, and many elements of carved marble. These decorations, embellishments, and furnishings, which were executed by artists and artisans with different cultural roots and affiliations -- Byzantine, Islamic, and western -- stand as testimony to the power of Norman patronage and the richness of the visual culture of Sicily in the twelfth century. [Medieval Italy: an Encyclopedia. Christopher Kleinhenz, 2003. p. 836.]