Engaged Capital with a Lion and a Basilisk

Engaged Capital with a Lion and a Basilisk

1175-1200

Marble

Overall: 30.2 x 33 x 29.3 cm (11 7/8 x 13 x 11 9/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1972.20

Fun Fact

This capital depicts a struggle between the good lion and the evil basilisk, a legendary reptile from myth. While the artist would not have encountered the mythical serpent, it is likely he never saw a real lion either based on its cartoonish appearance in this sculpture.

Description

The basilisk is an imaginary animal, half cock and half snake. According to medieval bestiaries, the basilisk could kill merely by its glance. It was commonly held as the symbol of the devil to be trodden down by Christ, first at the moment of his incarnation and then again during the Last Judgment.

See also
Collection: 
MED - Romanesque
Department: 
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Marble

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