The CAPITAL of EAGLES
right nave, fourth column (behind the pulpit)
This capital, beneath which one finds the Lombard-style pulpit, is iconographically similar to the preceding one, differing only in the types of small animals caught in the claws of the eagles and in the decoration: between the birds of prey there are tall stems, on the top of each of which there is a flower with four petals, between coiled racemes extending over the heads of the predators. With respect to the other capital of eagles, some of these small animals show their reactions more clearly: their heads are turned upwards, in the attempt to bite the legs of the bird, as if rebelling against their destiny. For this reason the role of psychopomp of these birds – namely those who accompany the souls of the dead – can be interpreted negatively, as leading them to Hell.
Mons. Valente Moretti (2004) saw in this capital violence generating violence, but in the Romanesque period that symbolism is generally expressed by creatures more or less equal in force, as is seen in another capital in our pieve. Here, on the other hand, the allegory of damnation, of the soul led to an undesired afterlife, is to be preferred. The presence of a hare or rabbit among the prey might intensify this negative symbolism or else suggest one of hope, dependig on the meaning attributed to the animal, just as happens in the other capital of eagles.
As in the case of the preceding column, the stone-cutter was local, even if for stylistic reasons this one must be attributed to a different hand. One model was followed for both, but the rendering differs in the proportions of the eagles, more tapered here, and in the treatment of the surfaces. In the capital near the apse the small rabbit is more realistic and expressive, the forms larger and more plastic, in contrast with a certain fixedness and a more schematic style, typical of this sculptor, to whom we can also attribute the following capital with the symbols of the Eucharist.