istituto-diocesano-musica-sacra

Lunette of Assumption

On the side door of the left aisle a black stone slab is carved in low relief, which, once decorated the tympanum of the central portal of the cathedral on the Priamar.
The composition, enclosed in a frame with plant motifs (vine leaves and bunches of grapes alternates), presents in the centre the figure of the Virgin within a “Mandorla” – a sign of glory and power and at the same time an allusion to her virginity – supported by celebrating angels and surrounded by six angels playing various musical instruments.
High above the Virgin’s head, two angels bearing a crown that indicates her as the Queen of Angels and Queen of the Universe. Under the “Mandorla” there is the tomb of Mary which, according to the apocryphal tradition, the Apostles would have found empty.
According to this tradition, the Virgin would have left her belt to the incredulous apostle Thomas as a tangible sign of his assumption into heaven.
The author of the low relief evidently is inspired by this kind of narrative, known in medieval times through the popular Golden Legend archbishop of Genoa Jacopo from Varagine (XIII century).
At the bottom of the stone, the Apostles, some of them recognizable by traditional attributes (the first on the left: St. Peter with the keys, and the third on the left: St. Bartholomew with a knife, he was martyred instrument), can be observed.
They, through hand gestures (with the palms facing forward or tense to indicate the Virgin) and with their talk, express their astonishment in the face of the event.
In particular, it has to be noted that the Apostle Thomas who, kneeling at the empty tomb, welcomes into its own hands the belt of Mary. The work seems to be placed in the late Middle Ages.

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