Offered by Dei Bardi Art
Sculptures and works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Romanesque capital representing Daniel in the lion's den
Central France, Nivernais ? 12th century
38 x 29 x 18 cm
Rare capital decorated with two stylized lions' ribs around a man represented in bust. The three beasts represented in a crawling position, are stylized but interpreted with an elegant drawing, with incised details of the tail and the mane. The faces of the three creatures are sculpted with cat-like ears, circular incised eyes with pierced pupils and incised tails. The relief follows a symmetrical compositional formula favored in Romanesque sculpture. The oriental model of addossed animals is combined here with the face to face of other styles.
In Romanesque iconography, the one where the lions are standing on a bust or a head of a man, can be interpreted as Daniel in the lion's den (see "salva me de ore leonis", a propos de quelques chapiteaux romans de la cathédrale saint-pierre à Genève. W. Deonna)
The beasts that surround Daniel have peaceful attitudes, since they have not done him any harm and are submissive to him.
Chapter VI of the book of Daniel recounts a famous episode in the life of the Jewish sage: the one in which his piety towards the true God led him to be thrown into the lions' den and to come out safe and sound.
Darius, a king of legend, had three presidents at the head of his empire: Daniel was one of them. His intelligence and dedication are such that the King intends to elevate him above the other two by making him a sort of viceroy.
The other two presidents know that Daniel is without reproach so they imagine to promulgate an edict that forbids for a period of thirty days to address prayers to any god but the king. Anyone who transgresses the edict will be thrown into the lions' den. In spite of the decree, Daniel continued to worship the god of Israel three times a day according to custom.
All the satraps accuse Daniel of having transgressed his edit; Daniel is guilty of having violated the law and must undergo the prescribed punishment. In the evening he was brought and thrown to the lions.
At dawn, the king and the satraps go to the pit and find Daniel alive: he has been found pure before his god and the king.
8 500 €
24 000 €