Annunciation, Visitation, Annunciation to the Shepherds, Adoration of the Magi
The cycle of episodes from the Life of Christ (N03FL03, N02FL02) begins with this capital.
The Annunciation to Mary (Lk 1:26-38) on the south side of the capital shows the Archangel Gabriel with raised right hand and a book, in which the words AVE MARIA can be read. The Virgin Mary stands before him, in front of a narrow architectural backdrop topped by a triangular pediment and two towers.
On the east side of the double-capital the scene of the Visitation is shown to the left. Mary and Elizabeth are shown embracing, standing under an arch. The Visitation is flanked to the right by Mary lying in her childbed, below a lower arch; above, the two midwives, who wash the Christ Child, are represented. This scene is not mentioned in the four Gospels, but has its origin either in the apocryphal Gospel of James (18:1) or in the later Pseudo-Matthew Gospel (13), in which the two midwives in question are also named as Zelomi and Salome. To the right, on the edge of this side of the capital, Joseph can be seen standing, supporting himself on a stick.
The following scene in the sequence is that of the Annunciation to the Shepherds on the north side, where an angel is flying down from Heaven and pointing to a hooded shepherd, who is standing with a stick in a treetop. Three further shepherds appear below; two of them are playing music on their instruments. They are accompanied by a pair of grazing animals and a goat, tethered to a tree-trunk.
On the west side of the capital the Adoration of the Magi completes the stories of the Birth of Christ. The three Magi stand or kneel under the larger arch; Mary and the Christ Child are enthroned facing them.