Anonymous Romanesque,
Cross from a parvis

Anonymous Romanesque,
Cross from a parvis

A parvis cross depicting on the front the “right hand of God” and on the back a lamb with a cross to its side.

Patrizia Capitanio wrote that the mystical lamb’s body, surmounted by a cross and sculpted on one side of the limestone, “in terms of style, does not have a natural appearance, but is sculpted in a stylised fashion”. Its head is turned backward to symbolise that it is looking at those who will follow it (or the flock of souls that will follow Christ).

On the other side of the cross there is a divine hand with the first three fingers extended sculpted in the stone, an iconography that refers to the Trinity and the bestowal of the blessing. On the side of the hand giving the blessing are the words “dextera domini fecit virtutem”, a phrase from Psalm 117 verse 16 and on the side of the lamb there are words that can be made out as “agnes mactatur / christus de cruce levatur” of an Easter sequence that can be traced to a poetic-liturgical form that was very common during the Carolingian era.

Hence the cross can be dated to approximately the two centuries around the year 1000, or the period of the Church of St. Anthony in the Borgo Durbecco, where the parvis stood.

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