Anonymous Romanesque Adriatic, Parts of ambon: lion of St. Mark and ox of St. Luke

Anonymous Romanesque Adriatic,
Parts of ambon: lion of St. Mark and ox of St. Luke

These two animals decorated the Romanesque ambon of Santa Maria Foris Portam. The lion is the symbol of St. Mark and the winged ox of St. Luke. Scholars agree on the reconstruction of the monument from which these two fragments come: they are two parts of the ambon, or of the parapet of the apse or pulpit present in medieval churches.

The lion is depicted rearing in profile, looking towards the right and with the book of the Gospels between its front paws. Its head is framed by a halo that is barely in relief and the wings are opened, covering the entire width of the slab. The ox is depicted seated, facing left with its wings unfolded, while it holds the book of the Gospels between its front hooves. A small halo encircles its head, which is not depicted in profile but as seen from above.

As Anna Tambini wrote, these two slabs appear to be in Romanesque style for their vigorous forms and for the spontaneous realism of the rearing lion captured while roaring, although maintaining the stylised motifs in the calligraphic curls of the mane and in the wings that almost evoke leafy elements. The work can be considered from the Adriatic area and dated around the second half of the XII century.

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