Moissac - West Side - W02MS58


West Side

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W02MS58W W


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The Glorious Cross

Two large and very similar angels each take up a whole side of the capital on the east and west sides. Their arms are stretched out horizontally in the form of a cross. Their outspread wings stretch as far as the corner volutes.
On the north side a bare cross stands in the middle; the hand of God the Father, emerging from below the clouds, is laid on top of it. Two angels stand at the sides of the cross and point to it. This side of the capital faces the scene of the Sacrifice of Abraham (W01MS57): a prefiguration of the sacrifice of Jesus.
On the south side another cross is displayed, but this one is richly embellished with precious stones and bears a christogram-medallion at its centre; it forms the “glorious” pendant to the cross on the north side. Two angels draw back a curtain to reveal the beauty of this showpiece cross. They turn their heads away, so blinding is the light shed by it. This renewed “unveiling” within the sculptures of the cloister points to the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, who like Saint Augustine proclaim: “For the Old Covenant is nothing but the veiling of the New, and the New Covenant is nothing but the unveiling of the Old.”
Each side of the bevelled impost frieze is decorated with a pair of confronted mythical beasts. They lie on their backs. They have the bodies of birds of prey and human heads with Phrygian caps. Their tails are swallowed by monstrous heads in the corners.

gemmata Crux cross hand Chi-Rho christogram monster cap phrygian angel cross