North Side - N11Sh10

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Capital with oak leaves and double-axe motif

Oak leaves wrap themselves around the calathos of both capitals as if lilting in a breeze.  The alternating course of the tightly-clumped leaves around each capital reinforces the impression of this dynamic movement. Between the leaves and the abacus is a wide intermediate layer decorated with a double-axe motif that refers stylistically to northern Italian relief sculpture. For example, a similar pattern adorns the architraves of church doors in Modena, Nonantola, Piacenza, Ferrara, and Verona. Above all it is this motif that shows a direct correspondence to capital E25Sh49, which has telamones placed on the capital’s corners instead of volutes.

Schermer believes that this capital represents an archetype originating in northern Italy, within the circle of the sculptor known as Nicholaus.

Schermer, Birgitt, Der Kreuzgang des Domes in Monreale. Eine Untersuchung zur Genese der romanischen Skulptur Siziliens, Münster, 2002, p. 102ff.