MASTER of Cabestany
(active 1130-1180)

Christ Walking on the Water

c. 1150
White marble, 82 x 61 cm
Museu Frederic Marès, Barcelona

This white marble relief, representing Christ walking on the water towards his disciples, comes from the façade of the church of Sant Pere de Roda, probably the artist's major work. It well conveys the quality of the artist's work during the last quarter of the twelfth century.

This fragment of a frieze bears the clear imprint of late antique and early Christian art: the carving is deeply undercut, an effect achieved by the use of the Roman device of the drill; the heads have a classical appearance; it has also been suggested that the inscription has been carved in a consciously archaic style.

The scene is thought to represent Christ walking on water (as described in Matthew 14: 24-32) both because Christ appears to be standing on water and because of the inscription, which can be translated as "wherein Christ appears to the disciples on the sea." St Peter is stepping out of the boat to go toward Christ. The high quality of the marble may have prompted its re-use from the earlier piece.

The fragment is attributed to the Master of Cabestany.




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