Sign of the Lion and Sign of the Ram
This bas-relief was no doubt originally designed to complete the iconographic programme of the western façade of the abbey church of Saint Sernin. With its complex iconography, of which many mysteries have yet to be elucidated, this work represents the height of sculpted art at the Basilica of Saint Sernin.Its style, very much suffused with late Antiquity, draws parallels with the art on the Goldsmiths’ Portalat Santiago de Compostela.
The inscription inserted between two female figures gives the work its title: “Sign of the Ram / Sign of the Lion / This was made at the time of Jules Caesar”. An explanation often proffered sees in this relief an allusion to the birth or to the death of Christ.