Capital with Four Heads


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304

In 863 a monk named Theodosius wrote of the grandeur of Palermo, describing it as “full of citizens and strangers. . . . Blended with the Sicilians the Greeks, the Lombards and the Jews, there are Arabs, Berbers, Persians, Tartars, Africans, some wrapped in long robes and turbans . . . faces oval, square, or round, of every complexion and profile, beards and hair of every variety of color and cut.” The four heads emerging from acanthus leaves to form the corners of this capital attest to Theodosius’ comments. The heads are close in style to other examples by Apulian sculptors working for the court of Frederick II Hohenstaufen.

Capital with Four Heads, Limestone, Italian

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