MOSAIC ARTIST, Italian
(active 1140-70 in Palermo)

Nave, centre aisle, north wall (detail)

1140-70
Mosaic
Cappella Palatina, Palermo

Like the architecture, the pictorial program in the chapel's sanctuary is essentially Byzantine in character. This is not the case in the nave, whose mosaic decor consists of two pictorial cycles. The Old Testament cycle, which runs along the side walls of the centre aisle in two registers, follows in the tradition of Roman church decoration. It begins on the south wall, next to the crossing, with the story of the Creation, and ends on the north wall with scenes from the life of Jacob. The second cycle extends across both of the side-aisle walls: the stories of apostles Peter and Paul are related in fourteen panels, some of them containing two scenes.

The picture shows a detail of the north wall of the centre aisle of the nave, with a view into the north side aisle. On the north wall, scenes from the Old Testament cycle can be seen: hardships of the first parents, Cain and Abel's offerings, Cain kills Abel and is punished, Lamech and his two wives; Rebecca at the well and Rebecca's journey, Isaac blesses Jacob; St Augustine, St Ambrose. In the north side aisle scenes belonging to the Peter and Paul cycle are depicted.