Inscriptions on recto typed in white on negative enclosed in black border that extends across the width of photo (1/2 in. wide) (printed from negative) Inscribed recto: a. Granada b. 97. c. Patio de los Leones Angulo de la Galeria. d. CAMINO./(Es Porpiedad) Inscribed verso: a. smudge (1/2") of brown ink b. handwritten in pencil l.r. corner: B665
This drawing is done in brownish ink and wash against a light background, has a narrow horizontal format. It shows a group of figures clustered into the right half of the composition. The central figure is a bearded man, seated under a tree, gazing upward as he holds a loaf of bread in one hand and raises his other hand up in the air. The other figures- two men, a woman and a child- are looking at him intently .
The subject of this drawing is the "Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes" from the New Testament of the Bible (John 6:5-14). Christ instructed his disciples to distribute a young boy's five loaves of bread and two fish to a large crowd that had gathered. All were fed from this small amount of food. In this drawing, Christ is seated in the middle of the group and his hand posture and skyward gaze suggest that the artist is depicting the moment when Christ blessed the loaves and fish before they were given to the crowd.
This capital, based upon the Roman composite order, features stylized acanthus leaves and rinceau on the bell of the capital, which terminates in a band of bead-and-reel motif on the astragal. This, in turn, is capped by an echinus decorated with three fleurons and vine rinceau on each face as well as four projecting volutes also decorated with rinceau and fleurons. Originally the bell of the capital had two tiers of acanthus leaves, but the capital has been cropped below the top of the first tier and the tips of the leaves, which once curved outward from the surface of the capital, have been sheared off.
This capital comes from Medinat al-Zahra, the vast palace-city begun in 936 CE near Cordova by ‘Abd al-Rahman II, the Islamic Umayyad ruler of Spain, where it probably adorned the sumptuous audience hall known as the Salon Rico. The majestic scale and splendor of the palace accommodated the needs and sophisticated protocols of the court, and boldly strengthened Umayyad claims to the status of caliph, or supreme civil and religious ruler of the Islamicate world. In this setting the elegant vegetal decoration of the capital both reflected the lush paradisiacal garden in which the Salon Rico was situated and reverberated with echoes of authority emanating from the Roman and Byzantine models from which the form of the capital derived, thereby contributing to the majesty of the Umayyad caliph.