Itinerary A

[3] The stories of the capitals

The capitals of the columns in the Cefalù Cloister are characterised by original decorative motifs, emblematic of medieval art. Following its itinerary, made up of the transcendence of the circle inserted in the immanence of the square, we are invited to embark on a spiritual journey of purification that begins where the light sets, symbolically linked to Adam and the Old Testament, and then reaches the New Testament dimension, pervaded by the radiance of the incarnation and the promise. There are decorations with acanthus leaves placed in the initial part of the pair of capitals that proceed both upwards and downwards, following a common ornamental path. In particular, the leaves at the top widen in an arch, forming a crown that supports those at the bottom. The latter open outwards to form a right angle on which the figurative decoration with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations rests. The thirty-three pairs of historiated capitals, carved in a single block, show a sculptural apparatus with different iconography: narrative or figurative, with animals and with plants. So, there are scenes from the Bible, decorations with animals, such as monkeys, deer, eagles and fantastic animals (winged griffins), as well as human figures such as the six acrobats or the rulers with roosters.