© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This capital once crowned a twin column in the abbey church of Santa María de Lebanza, in Palencia, northern Spain. Christ is shown seated in an almond-shaped “mandorla” surrounded by beasts representing the Evangelists: an angel (Matthew), an eagle (John), a lion (Mark), and an ox (Luke). This motif, known as Christ in Majesty, was common in the Middle Ages. Unusually, the motif is conflated here with an image of Christ as the Redeemer, for Christ is also bare-chested, with the angel and eagle displaying his wounds. This variation may reflect the interest in Christ’s suffering that began in the late twelfth century. Accordingly, pairs of disciples on either side hold the instruments of the Passion: nails, a spear, and a double-armed cross. Above, an inscription honors the patron: “Pedro Caro, Prior, made this church and the monastery with its cloisters and all that was founded by him; it was 1223 [1185 by our modern calendar].”

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1926.4.1.A
People
Unidentified Artist
Title
Capital from the Abbey of Santa María de Lebanza; principal face: Christ in Majesty Exhibiting His Wounds; right face: Disciple with Lance and Disciple with Nails; left face: Two Disciples with Double-Armed Cross
Classification
Architectural Elements
Work Type
architectural element
Date
c.1185
Places
Creation Place: Europe, Spain, Palencia
Culture
Spanish
Location
Level 1, Room 1003, West Arcade
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Limestone and mortar with red paint
Dimensions
63.5 x 63 x 51.7 cm (25 x 24 13/16 x 20 3/8 in.)
861 lb.
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: abacus: PETRUS CARO PRIOR [F]ECIT ISTA (m) ECLESIA (m) ET DOMUS ET CLAUSTRA OM (ni) A QUE AB E(o) FU[N]DAT[A] E(ra) MCCXXIII
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
1926
Object Number
1926.4.1.A
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Arthur Kingsley Porter, Spanish Romanesque Sculpture, Pegasus Press and Pantheon Books (Paris, France and Florence, Italy, 1928), vol. II, p. 32, pl. 103

Linda Seidel, "Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections: X: The Fogg Art Museum: III: Spain, Italy, the Low Countries, and Addenda", GESTA (1973), vol. XII, no. 1/2, no. 4, repr.

Robert P. Bergman, "Varieties of Romanesque Sculpture", Apollo (May 1978), 107, pp. 374-375, repr. as figs. 11, 12 and 13

Walter Cahn and Linda Seidel, Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections, volume 1: New England Museums, Burt Franklin & Co., Inc. (New York, NY, 1979), no. 54a-1, figs. 213, 214

Elizabeth Bradford Smith, Medieval Art in America: Patterns of Collecting 1800-1940, exh. cat., Palmer Museum of Art (University Park, PA, 1996), p. 178

Christine Smith, ed., Before and After the End of Time: Architecture and the Year 1000, exh. cat., George Braziller (New York, NY, 2000), no. 14 in checklist; pp. 20, 38, repr. in b/w p. 21

Exhibition History

32Q: 1003 West Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu