Saint Peter before Herod, Flight from Prison
The apostle Peter, his arrest and flight from prison are scenically represented in this capital. The capital is architecturally structured with arches on three sides; those on the broader west and east sides show a double arch with miniature architectural motifs set in the spandrels.
The narrative begins on the east side with the Saint’s arraignment before Herod Agrippa. Enthroned and crowned on the left side, the king raises his arm, as if in the act of giving the order to have Peter arrested. Below the right arch one of Herod’s henchmen is conducting the Apostle to prison, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-18).
The short north side shows Peter, just as described in that book, “sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains” (Acts 12: 6), while an angel of the Lord flies down to him from behind.
The next scene follows on the west side, with Peter, who is touched on the forehead by the angel, in order to wake him up and help him flee. The Apostle is flanked, during his flight, by soldiers armed with shields. Finally Peter is led by the angel outside the prison and through “the iron gate leading into the city”, which “opened to them of its own accord” (Acts 12:10).
The city itself takes up the whole of the south side of the capital, with an architectural backdrop distinguished by battlements.
That no other capital in the cloister is dedicated to the Apostle Peter, patron saint of the church in Estella, is surprising, but no doubt due to the fact that many capitals were lost, and much of the convent was destroyed, following the blowing-up of the castle.