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North Side - N11MS49

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Crusaders in Jerusalem (?)

On the broad east side of the capital is a building with three towers and a double round-arched doorway, perhaps a church or the facade of the Golden Gate in Jerusalem with its double arches. On the left side an angel seems to be stepping out of the gate; he carries a processional cross and with his right hand blesses several armed men, who hold lances on the south, lances and halberds on the west and north sides. They are also armed with swords or carry satchels marked with a cross. In the north-east corner a barefooted figure with a long toga-like dress holds a large processional cross in his right and a book in his left hand, as he strides towards the church.
This capital is generally interpreted as the representation of the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099, an event that aroused considerable attention throughout the West. The adjacent capital N12MS50 may confirm this interpretation. In unison with the whole iconography of the cloister, what is especially striking here is how the exegesis of Holy Scripture is linked with contemporary events.
Stylistically considered, the proportions and three-dimensionality of the figures, the kind of the clothing they wear, and the overall composition of this capital, are related to sculptures from the abbey church of Saint-Sernin in Toulouse, e.g. the capital of the “Apotheosis of Saint Saturnin” (no. 239) in the south transept gallery; this would seem to confirm the presence of sculptors from Toulouse in Moissac.